Tesla Autopilot Crash Investigation Expands in U.S.
A sweeping federal probe into Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist system is growing.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said its investigation now encompasses 830,000 Tesla vehicles equipped with Autopilot, CNN reports. Investigators have already looked at 200 crashes and are now reportedly focusing on 16 collisions involving Teslas and stopped emergency vehicles.
“NHTSA reminds the public that no commercially available motor vehicles today are capable of driving themselves,” the federal agency said in a statement.
The investigation covers Tesla's entire current model lineup, the Models Y, X, S and 3 from the 2014 through 2021 model years.
The Autopilot system is intended to allow cars to steer, accelerate and brake automatically–without a human driver controlling the vehicle–while staying in their lane. The crashes have sparked speculation that the tech may not be able to properly spot and adapt to emergency vehicles stopped in places where they are not supposed to be.
“The probe is another sign that NHTSA under President Joe Biden is taking a tougher stance on automated vehicle safety than under previous administrations,” the Associated Press reports. “Previously the agency was reluctant to regulate the new technology for fear of hampering adoption of the potentially life-saving systems.”
NHTSA launched the investigation last year in response to “an accumulation of crashes in which Tesla vehicles, operating with Autopilot engaged, struck stationary in-road or roadside first responder vehicles tending to pre-existing collision scenes,” according to the agency.
That includes crashes in California. A Tesla Model S was reportedly engaged in Autopilot when the vehicle smashed into a fire truck in Culver City in 2019. A Tesla sport utility vehicle driver in California died a year earlier when the car collided with a freeway barrier near Redwood City.
Tesla Owners in California: Know Your Rights
The Tesla probe shows that even the most expensive vehicles with the latest technology are not immune to defects. Tesla and other car manufacturers recall millions of vehicles around the globe every single year.
The good news for Tesla and other car owners in California is that you have some important rights and options under the state’s lemon law.
The law forces car manufacturers to perform various repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. It also forces manufacturers to buy back covered vehicles that they are unwilling or not able to fix. That includes compensating the owner for the purchase price of the car, as well as financing fees, rental car costs and other related expenses.
Speak with a Los Angeles Lemon Law Attorney
If you are locked in a dispute with a car manufacturer over a malfunctioning or defective vehicle, an Los Angeles lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help.
We have successfully assisted car owners across the state. Our offices are conveniently located in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a Los Angeles lemon law attorney today.