The federal government recently opened two special investigations into vehicles with self-driving capabilities manufactured by Tesla. These investigations were initiated after two crashes occurred while Tesla vehicles were being operated with their advanced driver assistance systems were allegedly being utilized. The crashes, which occurred in San Francisco and Ohio, may have been caused by malfunctions in the vehicles’ self-driving feature.
These new investigations are the 40th and 41st inquiries opened by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration involving potential Tesla advanced system assistance malfunctions since 2016. Eight of these inquiries were opened in 2022 alone. A host of non-fatal injuries and 19 deaths are tied to these 41 crashes.
The NHTSA is the federal agency responsible for minimizing the risk of crash-related injuries, fatalities, and costs in the U.S. When it opens an investigation into emerging technology or potential safety hazards, the agency uses the information it collects to inform new safety standards and regulations that have the potential to save countless lives and prevent an untold number of injuries.
Self-Driving Features: Safety Concerns and Liability Considerations
Currently, Tesla’s self-driving features are facing an increasingly heightened level of regulatory, public, and legal scrutiny. Although motorists have dreamed about such features for decades, it’s important to avoid embracing technology that may not yet be safe within the often unpredictable context of navigating American roadways. As a the consequences of a malfunction could be deadly, approaching new technology cautiously and with an eye toward safety for all is wholly appropriate.
As an experienced Simi Valley, CA car accident lawyer – including those who practice at The Law Offices of Barry P. Goldberg – can confirm, operators of new auto technology and innocent bystanders alike often suffer when malfunctions occur. In these situations, it is often the manufacturer of the technology in question that can be held legally and financially liable for all of the harm caused in a crash.
This very reality is one of the reasons why it’s so important to avoid making assumptions about what has or hasn’t caused a crash before its circumstances have been thoroughly and objectively assessed. All too often, car accident victims simply assume that it was their own or another driver’s negligence or recklessness that led to their harm. This isn’t always the case. “Invisible” influences, like auto parts defects, often play a role in crashes that is hard to detect with the naked eye.
Once a lawyer has evaluated the circumstances of a crash and performed necessary investigative work, the true cause(s) of a wreck – which may or may not include an auto parts defect – may be confidentially identified.
Whether you drive a vehicle that has self-operating capabilities or not, it’s possible that you may discover in the wake of a crash that a defective auto part played a role in the circumstances that led to your harm. In this scenario, a skilled lawyer could potentially help you to hold the parts manufacturer liable for what has happened to you.