On March 1st of 2019, A Tesla Model 3 car was attempting to cross a Florida highway when it crashed into a tractor-trailer. Like all accidents, an investigation ensued. However, given recent Tesla accidents, the top question was whether or not the vehicle was using the company’s autopilot system at the time of the accident. Here are the results from the investigation.
The Accident Itself
It was an average day in March, much like any other, when Jeremy Beren Banner was driving the highway. The 50-year-old Floridian was driving a stylish Model 3 and engaged the car’s autopilot feature to make his drive easier.
Ten seconds after engaging autopilot, the car decided to change lanes using its various cameras and GPS navigation. Unfortunately, something went wrong. The car slammed into the side of a tractor-trailer at 68 miles-per-hour, tearing off the roof of the Model 3 and killing Banner.
Investigators were able to piece this grisly scene together thanks the car’s cameras and video footage recovered from nearby surveillance systems. While the facts of the accidents are clear, why the car’s autopilot system failed is puzzling.
The autopilot system is often confused with fully autonomous driving capabilities. That’s not the case, however, and Tesla has admitted this several times. It is designed to operate the vehicle using electronic systems including GPS, cameras, radar sensors, and more. This allows the car to maintain speed, switch lanes, and park.
While Elon Musk has touted this technology as a way to reduce accidents on the road, this 2019 wreck is the 12th autopilot accident in a Tesla vehicle. The company is currently under investigation by federal agencies and has made minor adjustments to the system in compliance with requests.
Other incidents look similar to Banner’s accident. The system asks the driver to take the wheel, investigators are left trying to determine how long it was before the driver took control, but it’s ultimately too late to save the life of the driver or passengers.
In Banner’s case, 10 seconds isn’t a lot of time to do anything at high speeds. There’s also the question of why the autopilot system would directly steer the car into harm’s way. Given this an other accidents, the entire system has come under fire over obvious and severe safety concerns.
The nature of these accidents are different than others, simply because of the technological element thrown into the mix. If you or someone you know has been involved in a crash with self-driving features in play, you’ll need a highly skilled legal expert to help navigate the resulting legal process.
Dan Rose, a Bay Area car accident attorney, is an excellent example of the experience and know-how needed to help people seek compensation after these kinds of car crashes. Whether it’s proving the fault of these technologies or fighting back against giant manufacturers, a skilled attorney is the key to holding those responsible accountable.