Recently, the Laredo Morning Times posted a story about the rising safety concerns surrounding Tesla vehicles. Specifically, the safety of Tesla’s innovate autopilot mode has been called into question by industry observers. The reporting notes that several different crashes related to the autopilot mode have now been confirmed in recent months. Consumer watchdogs are worried that the company has created false expectations in the minds of its customers.
Tesla Autopilot Mode: The First Fatal Accident
Tesla’s autopilot mode has been widely heralded as one of the country’s foremost autonomous vehicle features. Many people view it as the future of automotive travel. Essentially, when the car is in this mode, the software on the vehicle will keep it in the correct lane while also controlling the speed. It has been considered a forerunner to fully self-driving technology. However, it is far from perfect. Earlier this year, a failure of the autopilot mode caused a fatal accident in northern Florida. When traveling on the highway, the vehicle’s software failed to correctly identify the trailer of an eighteen wheeler. As a result of that failure, the vehicle maintained its speed and ran right into the truck. Unfortunately, the driver was killed as a result of that crash. Other similar crashes have since been reported. Tesla contends that they have no liability for any these accidents. According to the company, autopilot is only a semi-autonomous driving mode. In their view, the driver must always continue to pay attention to the road. The company believes that the responsibility for the safety of the vehicle is still entirely in the hands of the driver. Tesla points to material previously released by the company as evidence that they have adequately warned consumers of this issue. However, not everyone is convinced that the company has done enough.
Companies Have a Duty to Warn Customers of Safety Risks
All companies have a legal duty to warn consumers of any foreseeable safety risks associated with their products. Further, companies are legally obligated to accurately market their products so that they do not create false expectations in the minds of consumers. If a false expectation is created, and an injury occur as a result, the company may face a products liability claim. Reports suggest that Tesla may soon be facing this type of legal action. In fact, Consumer Reports, one of the nation’s most well respected consumer advocacy organizations, is recommending the Tesla drop the term ‘autopilot’ from their vehicle branding entirely. Consumer Reports argues that the name itself, along with the corresponding advertising and media coverage of the Tesla, has given consumers a false expectation of what their vehicles are capable of doing. Further, Consumer Reports wants Tesla to do more to encourage customers to keep their hands on the wheel of the Tesla at all times.
Contact Our Office Today
Ultimately, you and your family deserve safety on Texas roads. If you have been injured in a involving a Tesla, or any other type of vehicle, our experienced attorneys are here to help. Please call our office today at (210) 308-8811 to schedule a free review of your car accident claim. Our firm serves accident victims throughout the San Antonio region, including in Bexar County and Webb County.