A lawsuit was recently filed in Utah against Tesla, the car manufacturer, involving the failure of an autonomous system to prevent an accident.
Online PR News – 07-June-2019 – Salt Lake City, Utah – A lawsuit was recently filed in Utah against Tesla, the car manufacturer, involving the failure of an autonomous system to prevent an accident. In the suit, the claimant states that she was told she only needed to touch the steering wheel on occasion when she was driving in Autopilot mode, but the vehicle did not stop for cars that were not moving in front of her. ASA insurance says that these situations bring up many questions for car owners about autonomous cars and their car insurance coverage.
The incident in the lawsuit happened on May 11, 2018 in Salt Lake City when the driver looked at her phone while the car was in Autopilot mode. She claimed that sales staff told her that the car would stop by itself when driven in this mode if something was in the path. According to the police report, the driver did not touch the steering wheel for 80 seconds before the crash and only put the brakes on just a fraction of a second before impact. A spokesman for Tesla stated that the company warns drivers not to rely on the Autopilot mode and to monitor their vehicle and the road at all times. This is not the first incident for the company or for other car manufacturers that have developed autonomous and semi-autonomous systems. ASA Insurance, a provider of auto insurance in Salt Lake City, expects more of these situations to occur as the use of the systems increase.
"People expect systems to work like they are designed," says Creed Anderson of ASA Insurance. "However, it is still their responsibility to be watchful of the road as they travel." He explains that many of these systems give a false sense of security to drivers who feel the vehicle has more control. Ultimately, the driver must be responsible for what happens when they are out on the road.
"Of course, the manufacturer must design a system that works," Anderson continues. There is responsibility on the manufacturer to ensure that the buyer is aware of their responsibility and the product is marketed accurately. If the system malfunctions, it is the manufacturer's responsibility to make things right. However, the focus for Anderson is on making sure people are aware that they must continue to be alert even when they are using new technology on their vehicles. Many other systems are in place to assist drivers, such as adaptive cruise control, lane assist systems and emergency braking. However, drivers should never rely on them solely to make the right decisions to avoid an accident. Even with autonomous technology, drivers should keep their eyes on the road to protect themselves from a crash.
New technology is designed to make driving safer, but it is not perfect. ASA insurance wants to make sure drivers know how these systems work, recognize their limitations and understand their responsibility to remain aware so that fewer accidents will be the result instead of more in the future.