Tesla Autopilot Accident on 405 Freeway in Culver City

A Tesla Model S sedan collided with a fire truck Monday morning on the 405 Freeway, surprisingly not causing any serious injuries. According to the Mercury News, the Culver City car accident occurred when the Tesla driver, who claims he was using the vehicle’s autopilot feature, rear ended a stopped fire truck that was parked at the scene of another Culver City accident.

The freeway accident occurred at about 8:30 in the morning. The fire truck was parked in the emergency lane and carpool lane, with a California Highway Patrol vehicle behind it. Even though firefighters claimed the Tesla driver was going approximately 65 miles per hour, which is very rare for the 405 freeway at 8:30am on a weekday, the driver of the Tesla said he did not require medical assistance.

The National Transportation Safety Board has previously said that Tesla’s autopilot feature, which monitors when a driver removes his or her hands from the steering wheel, does not do a good enough job of ensuring that the driver is actually paying proper attention to the road. Tesla, in responding to this incident, has said that even when autopilot is in use, the driver must still be fully attentive.

There is much talk in the news about technology and automobile companies competing to be the first and best when it comes to driverless vehicles. While we fully support technological advances, they must be made safely. We have previously stated that we feel that driverless cars would be much safer if all vehicles are driverless and interacting with each other. Until that is the case (if ever), the human element will be very difficult for machines to interpret. For example, when you are changing lanes and motioning to another driver to let you in, there is no technology that will be able to identify that and respond appropriately.

We are glad that no firefighter or anyone else suffered any significant injuries in this accident, but it is a warning and hopefully Tesla and other companies will learn from this incident to increase safety in the future.  If you are injured in a Tesla accident, or any other car accident, our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation.

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