There are at least 24 pending lawsuits currently filed against Tesla. Many of the lawsuits allege that Tesla’s Autopilot feature caused Tesla cars to swerve into the wrong lanes or even off the road. Most of the car-specific lawsuits against Tesla involve their Model X, but there will undoubtedly be more lawsuits involving the Model 3 as more are sold.
Since 2016, at least three Tesla drivers have been involved in fatal car accidents where the so-called Autopilot system failed to detect barriers or other objects on the road and did not brake in time to prevent the collision. At least 10 people were also killed in eight accidents that were actually caused by the Autopilot, as reported by the NHTSA.
The NHTSA and NTSB keep track of all crashes that involve Tesla vehicles and the use of any of the Autopilot system features. A new order, issued in June 2021, requires vehicle and equipment (including software) manufacturers and operators of automated driving systems-equipped vehicles to report crashes within one day where the system was engaged during or immediately before the crash.
Here are just some of the fatal crashes involving Teslas:
In April 2021, a Model S veered off a road in Texas, hit a tree and caught fire, killing both occupants. The NTSB has not yet concluded what caused the crash or whether the driver misused advanced driver-assistance features.
In a Fontana, CA crash in 2021, a 35-year-old man was killed when his Tesla Model 3 struck an overturned semi on a freeway.
In March 2019, a Model 3 driver collided with a semi-trailer in Delray Beach, Florida.
In two Florida crashes, from 2016 and 2019, Tesla cars with Autopilot in use drove beneath crossing tractor-trailers, killing the drivers.
In a 2017 crash in Mountain View, California, an Apple engineer driving on Autopilot was killed when his Tesla struck a highway barrier at 70 mph. Investigation later revealed he was playing a video game with the “auto pilot” system engaged right before the crash.
Tesla includes a disclaimer that “Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”
In October 2020 Tesla disbanded its public relations department, and generally does not comment on even fatal accidents involving its cars. And it doesn’t look like Elon Musk is about to approve another PR department.
Other companies spend money on advertising & manipulating public opinion, Tesla focuses on the product.
I trust the people.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2021