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Tesla Diminished Value Claim

TESLA Autopilot Crashes - the NHTSA Report

Blaszkow Legal, PLLC - April 30, 2024 April 30, 2024

TESLA Car Accidents - the NHSTA AutoPilot Report

At Blaszkow Legal, PLLC, we recently handled a serious accident case involving a Tesla vehicle implicating the so-called “Autopilot” feature. Teslas are becoming a popular vehicle, and we are seeing more and more of them involving in Virginia car accidents. Accordingly, we were quite interested when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a recent report dealing with this topic!

The NHTSA report involved a comprehensive study of the safety implications of the Autopilot system. This report, designated EA22002, delved into extensive crash analysis, human factors assessment, and vehicle evaluations to scrutinize the performance of Tesla vehicles equipped with Autopilot technology. The findings not only underscored critical safety concerns, but also raise questions about driver engagement and the industry's approach to advanced driver assistance systems, known as ADAS - what most of us call auto-pilot.

The NHSTA Report: Key Study Findings

Defect Information Report (Recall 23V838): Tesla's filing of Recall 23V838 acknowledged concerns regarding Autopilot's system controls, which may be insufficient for a driver assistance system requiring constant human supervision. The recall aimed to address these deficiencies, highlighting the need for enhanced driver engagement and system reliability.

Crash Analysis: The report analyzed over 900 crashes involving Tesla vehicles using Autopilot, revealing a troubling trend of avoidable accidents. A significant number of these incidents occurred in scenarios where hazards were visible to attentive drivers, yet the system and/or drivers failed to respond effectively.

Types of Crashes: The crashes analyzed primarily fell into three categories: frontal plane collisions, yaw loss of control incidents, and inadvertent steering overrides. Each scenario underscored critical issues related to driver disengagement, system limitations, and inadequate response to real-world driving conditions.

Telematic Data Gaps: Gaps in Tesla's telematic data raise uncertainties about the actual crash rates involving Autopilot-equipped vehicles. The report highlighted discrepancies between Tesla's crash reporting and traditional reporting systems utilized by peer companies, emphasizing the need for standardized data collection and reporting practices.

Peer Comparison: A comparison with other L2 systems in the market revealed Tesla's unique approach to driver engagement and system design. Unlike its peers, Autopilot demonstrated resistance to manual steering inputs, potentially discouraging drivers from actively participating in the driving process.

Consumer Should Be Concerned

Driver Engagement: The report's findings underscore the critical importance of maintaining driver engagement while using advanced driver assistance systems like Autopilot. Concerns arise regarding the efficacy of Tesla's driver monitoring systems and the potential for overreliance on automation.

System Limitations: The analysis highlights Autopilot's limitations in accurately detecting and responding to hazards, particularly in high-speed or low-traction scenarios. Consumers may question the system's reliability and its ability to operate safely in diverse driving conditions.

Safety Implications: The prevalence of avoidable crashes raises serious safety concerns for consumers. Questions about Tesla's approach to system design, user interface, and driver education initiatives may further compound anxieties regarding the overall safety of Autopilot-equipped vehicles.

Tesla Car Accidents Involving Auto-Pilot

If you have been hurt in a car accident where you believe a Tesla was on Auto-pilot, then you need to document this immediately, because you may have an uphill battle ahead of you.

  1. Record Video. If the Tesla driver says that the car was on auto-pilot when the crash happened, record that with your smartphone or other device. This admission is important, because it can drastically alter where liability lies in your case.

  2. Notify the Police. You have already called 911, but make sure you tell the responding police officers that the Tesla was on autopilot before the accident. a) this gets your statement on the officer's camera systems, and b) he should begin investigating that as part of the crash response.

  3. Contact a Tesla Car Accident Lawyer right away. Do not wait, because the data surrounding the crash has to be preserved. Tesla, and the at-fault driver, are not going to give you the data you need to make your case, but a car accident attorney can demand the data be preserved. If Tesla and the at-fault driver fail to do so, then they may have spoliated evidence in your case, and that spoliation (destruction of evidence) may be used against them.

Under normal circumstances, your claim is against the at-fault driver, and is pursued through the at-fault driver's car insurance coverage. However, autopilot car accidents are still new in the eyes of the law, and there is a chance that the car insurance may deny or disclaim coverage. An experienced car accident lawyer is going to help you to fight all of the parties responsible: the at-fault driver, the insurance companies, and Tesla itself.

Conclusions from the NHSTA Report

We all experience technology advancements that improve our lives everyday, but it pays to be mindful that the benefits of technology can have limitations. The NHTSA report offers valuable insights into the performance and safety implications of Tesla's Autopilot system. While advancements in ADAS technology hold promise for enhancing road safety, the findings underscore the need for robust regulatory oversight, standardized testing procedures, and transparent communication from automakers. As consumers weigh the benefits and risks of autonomous driving features, informed decision-making and ongoing vigilance remain paramount in ensuring the safety of all road users.

Have You Been Hurt in a Tesla AutoPilot Car Accident?

If you have been hurt in a car accident that was not your fault, and you believe the Tesla that caused the car accident was on AutoPilot, then you need to speak to a Virginia Car Accident Attorney right away. The insurance companies will never make your recovery easy, so you need someone in your corner to fight for you, and for your compensation.

Call Blaszkow Legal today for a free consultation in any Tesla car accident case in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC - 703-879-5910

NHSTA Tesla Report Is Here

Tesla Diminished Value Claim