In the last month, several videos have surfaced on the internet showing Telsa drivers sleeping while their car continues driving in its semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. According to a Fox News report, just this week a video was posted showing a driver near Las Vegas with his head rested back and eyes closed—his Tesla speeds up and slows down apparently on its own.
A video from a few days earlier shows a driver on a Southern California highway, also with his eyes closed. The person who filmed this Tesla and driver said he “observed the car riding along by itself for miles.” Although no one was harmed in these incidents, misuse of Autopilot systems continues to be a safety concern.
After an incident in December, Telsa actually responded—a driver was cited for drunk driving when police officers spotted his car driving while he was passed out in the driver’s seat. The officers followed his car, pulled in front of it, and slowed down to trigger the Autopilot to slow down and stop to avoid a collision. Although this worked, police officers wondered why the Autopilot did not deactivate on its own when sensors in the steering wheel detected the driver removed his hands from the wheel. Typically, the system is supposed to flash and sound a warning when a driver removes their hands. Tesla responded to the situation and said they were going to be “looking into what happened.”
While driverless technology presents many new opportunities, it also still presents many concerns. As demonstrated in these incidents, many people seem to be overly confident in using the Autopilot systems. These systems can be helpful in preventing accidents, but drivers are still supposed to remain attentive and keep their hands on the wheel. However, safety features that monitor this seem to have glitches, and this can be problematic if a driver stops paying attention or falls asleep.
New driving technology is certainly exciting, but it is very important that it is made and used safely. The technology is still so new and has many safety kinks to work out. As of right now, car owners that have autopilot systems, like in Tesla vehicles, should make sure that they use the autopilot option with caution. Many Los Angeles car accidents involving autopilot cars have occurred, so it is still important for drivers to stay attentive to avoid a harmful incident.
We are glad that there were no collisions or injuries in these incidents with sleeping drivers, but it is a good reminder that autopilot drivers should remain attentive at all times. Hopefully, as this technology continues to advance, Tesla and other companies will learn from these examples to better the safety features of their vehicles.
If you are injured in a Tesla accident, or any type of autopilot vehicle accident, the Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Walch Law offer a free consultation. We have years of experience with car accident personal injury cases and wrongful death accident claims. Contact us for your free consultation at 866-65-8792.