The widow of Walter Huang, a man who died when his Tesla Model X crashed into a barrier in Mountain View, Calif., on March 23, says she is planning to sue the company. According to an ABC News report, Sevonne Huang says he husband had previously complained about the vehicle’s Autopilot feature veering toward the same barrier. However, Tesla has blamed Walter Huang for the crash saying his hands were off the steering wheel in spite of repeated warnings to take back control of the car.
Autopilot Failure Alleged
Company officials have expressed their condolences, but continue to blame Huang for the accident. However, the attorney hired by the family to represent them says the vehicle took Huang out of the lane he was driving in and failed to brake, sending him into the concrete barrier. He contends that this tragic car accident would’ve never happened had the Autopilot never been turned on. The Huangs have two children ages 6 and 3.
This crash is being currently investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The agencies are also investigating the battery fire that followed the car crash. The NTSB has two other pending investigations of Tesla crashes including one in Lake Forest, right here in Orange County, where an owner lost control of the vehicle and ran into his garage. The other one involves a Tesla on Autopilot that struck a fire truck in Culver City in January. There have been complaints about Tesla’s Autopilot being defective and misreading lanes on the roadway.
Focusing on Safety
There have been a number of questionable car crashes involving Tesla Autopilot not just in the United States, but also around the world. As auto defect lawyers, we hope the federal investigations into these vehicles will yield some answers with regard to issues with Autopilot. Consumer Reports has also been critical of this feature stating that the name “Autopilot” is misleading because it gives drivers the impression that it is an autonomous feature when it is not.
After a fatal Florida crash involving Tesla Autopilot, the automaker issued a statement saying drivers should keep their hands on the wheel even when Autopilot is engaged because it is only a “driver-assist” feature. Tesla needs to do its due diligence before it puts them on the market and on our roadways. Autopilot issues should be fixed and the automaker should give consumers accurate safety information regarding their vehicles. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to Tesla Autopilot issues, please contact an experienced auto product liability attorney to better understand your legal rights and options.