Tesla makes almost 50% of the electric passenger cars sold in the United States. Recently, however, Tesla recalled more than 2 million of its cars. Previously, to no avail, federal regulators had pressed Tesla to update its Autopilot system, which can accelerate, steer, and brake by itself, and to make sure the cars’ drivers are paying attention in spite of the automatic driving features. This recall was Tesla’s fourth in under two years, and it covers almost all of the electric vehicles the company has made in the country since 2012. If you were injured because of Tesla’s electric vehicles, you should call the trustworthy Chicago-based lawyers of Moll Law Group. Billions have been recovered in lawsuits around the country with which we’ve been involved.
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Tesla has been successful in selling and marketing its electric passenger cars but has seen its market share slip as competitors have started selling electric cars. The recall, instituted after a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation into Tesla’s driver-assistance system, Autopilot, further damages Tesla’s image. Autopilot is designed to control vehicles on their own while driving down highways, but owner manuals ask drivers to continue to keep their hands on the wheel and resume control of the car in the event something goes wrong.
The investigation started in 2021 after fatal accidents occurred in cars that included the driver assistance technology. The agency identified 11 incidents that had occurred in which the Tesla vehicles were on the road with Autosteering engaged. Over the course of its investigation, the NHTSA said, it reviewed 956 crashes in which Autopilot was engaged, and focused on 322 crashes that included situations in which Autopilot might have been engaged inadvertently. The company has issued wireless software updates to some vehicles, and others will receive these updates later. The updates will involve more noticeable visual alerts while using autosteer, which will be suspended if drivers repeatedly fail to use it in a responsible manner.
Regulators became concerned that the company didn’t take sufficient action to stop drivers from misusing the driver assistance system. In some cases, drivers would turn it on while driving local roads and get distracted on the assumption that their car could fully drive itself.
Tesla regarded Autopilot as a set of features that could, to varying levels, assume control of the vehicle. For example, Autosteer can keep the vehicle within a lane without the driver controlling the steering wheel. Sometimes there is an increased risk of crash because Autosteer is in control, but the driver shucks all responsibility for driving the car. Tesla wirelessly updated its cars to incorporate more visual alerts to remind drivers of their ultimate responsibility for the car and asking them to pay attention and keep their hands on the wheel. Tesla has stated its Autopilot system makes Tesla vehicles safer. However, transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, has told the New York Times that manufacturers are responsible for foreseeable misuse of their products.
Lawsuits against Tesla have been brought around the country, arising out of crashes in which Autopilot was engaged. Allegations have included that Tesla is aware Autopilot is used on roads where it isn’t safe for use and failed to limit where the feature could be engaged. Other recalls have been issued in connection with other self-driving features. Unsafe cars are more likely to get into accidents. You may be able to pursue damages from Tesla if you were injured because of a crash in which defective Tesla features were to blame. Defects involving Autopilot are likely to be design and/or marketing defects. It is possible, for instance, that Tesla’s warnings were inadequate under the circumstances, and that, therefore, the car had marketing defects.
If you were injured or a loved one died as a result of the technology in Tesla vehicles, you should discuss your injuries and what happened with the tenacious product liability lawyers of Moll Law Group. We represent injured plaintiffs and grieving families across the country. Please complete our online form or call us at 312.462.1700.