A crash that took place in Culver City, California  in January 2018 has finally been thoroughly investigated. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the driver of a Tesla drove his car into the back of a fire truck while traveling along Interstate 405. Investigators determined that the Tesla’s Autopilot function was on when the crash occurred. Fortunately, there were no injuries that resulted from the incident.

Autopilot Doesn’t Mean Giving up Control

The NTSB found that the driver had used the Autopilot function for nearly fourteen minutes before and during the crash. In fact, it was determined that the driver’s hands made contact with the steering wheel for a total of only 51 seconds. The vehicle issued repeated visual and audio alerts to “Place Hands on the Wheel,” but the driver did not comply. Once the vehicle in front of the Tesla changed lanes, the driver apparently allowed the Tesla to accelerate on its own before it struck the fire truck. Investigators found that the driver was eating a breakfast bagel and drinking coffee while he relied on the Autopilot feature to drive the Tesla. Unfortunately, the driver’s assumption that the Autopilot feature meant the car was in complete control of itself led to the accident.

Tesla’s Response

In response to this incident, a Tesla spokesperson said that there has been a significant upgrade to its Autopilot system since this event. In newer Tesla models, there are clearer warnings to drivers at more regular intervals to place their hands back on the wheel. If drivers ignore these warnings, then the Autopilot function cannot be activated or used. The spokesperson added, “Tesla owners have driven billions of miles with Autopilot engaged, and data from our quarterly Vehicle Safety Report indicates that drivers using Autopilot remain safer than those operating without assistance.” The company strongly urges drivers to remember that they are still in control of the vehicle at all times, even when the Autopilot function is engaged.

Pursuing Compensation When You’re Injured in a Car Accident

While there were no injuries that resulted from this incident, there are bound to be more accidents in California involving distracted drivers or drivers using Autopilot instead of focusing on the road. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident and you need help pursuing compensation, reach out to the knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorneys at Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation today. We are committed to helping our clients in Temecula and Murrieta win the compensation they are owed in order to get their lives back on track following a car accident. Call 1-888-931-WORK (9675) today to learn more.