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Note to Tesla drivers: Autopilot does not mean self-driving

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2018 | Car Accidents

The Autopilot driver assistance program that is present in Tesla vehicles is an amazing piece of technology. Tesla owners in Delaware and across the country can enjoy such conveniences as assistance with parallel parking and backing out of spaces, as well as safety features such as assisted braking and improved accuracy in changing lanes. However, some Tesla owners may falsely think the Autopilot feature lets them divert their attention from driving. Whether you own a Tesla or share the road with one of these innovative vehicles, it is important to understand the intention behind the use of this technology.

Over the past few years, numerous accidents involving Tesla vehicles with the Autopilot system have led to many people distrusting and even blaming the technology for these crashes, including one accident in Florida in which someone died. However, the National Traffic Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated the technology and found no defects. Instead, officials concluded that driver error or the system’s limitations may have been responsible for the accidents.

Tesla owner crashed into fire truck while using Autopilot

Last December, reported CNBC, a driver rear-ended a stopped fire engine on a California freeway while using his Autopilot system. Nobody suffered any injuries, fortunately, and authorities were unsure if the owner of the Tesla Model S had been using the feature incorrectly. The system requires you to keep both hands on the steering wheel while using Autopilot, state officials from the company. If you take your hands off the wheel, the system will warn you and then shut off.

Paying attention while driving any vehicle is important

You also need to pay attention to the road at all times while using Autopilot. A driver might keep hands on the wheel but have his or her focus diverted elsewhere. The system can reduce a driver’s chances of getting into an accident but cannot prevent all accidents.

You may have reason to investigate whether a Tesla driver was using the Autopilot system correctly if you were in a crash with one of these vehicles.