Cars with automatic driving features are becoming more common on roadways in North Carolina. One of the most notable is Tesla’s Autopilot feature. In its recently published Vehicle Safety Report, Tesla asserts that this pseudo self-driving feature prevents crashes.
According to the voluntary report, Tesla drivers using the Autopilot feature between July and September of 2018 were involved in “crash-like events” once every 3.34 million miles. Meanwhile, drivers not using the Autopilot feature experienced car accidents once every 1.92 million miles.
Tesla’s Autopilot feature combines adaptive cruise control and steering assistance. Adaptive cruise control keeps a set distance between vehicles, and steering assistance keeps the vehicle inside lane markings. Both features are intended to be used only in limited circumstances such as on interstates with an attentive driver where there are no intersections or pedestrians to create an increased risk of an accident.
The Autopilot feature can be engaged anywhere, even though it is only intended to be used in certain conditions. Tesla has been accused of giving drivers a false sense of security about the safety of this feature. At least two people have died in crashes where Autopilot was engaged. In response to criticism, Tesla has released software updates that increase the frequency that a human driver is required to touch the wheel of the vehicle to show they are concentrating.
When a car’s automatic safety feature fails, both the car manufacturer and a negligent driver may be held responsible. An attorney may be able to help someone who has been injured in a car accident due to automatic safety feature failures. A successful claim could lead to a settlement that covers medical costs and pain and suffering.