Utah driver who slammed her Tesla into a firetruck sues the carmaker over Autopilot feature

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The girl who crashed her Tesla into a firetruck whereas the automobile was in autopilot mode is suing the electrical carmaker, alleging the feature is flawed and that the firm’s advertising and marketing is deceptive, the driver’s lawyer mentioned.

“They [Tesla] need to go away from autopilot to assisted driving,” Jeffery Metler, the driver’s lawyer, told ABC News. “Because right now Tesla is not ready for autopilot. So they’re trying to lay the blame at the feet of the drivers, which is what they’ve done for every crash.”

Tesla has beforehand mentioned Autopilot is a sophisticated driver-assistance system and never a self-driving system. But the web site’s Autopilot part states: “All Tesla vehicles produced in our factory, including Model 3, have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver.”

Tesla issued a assertion in response to the lawsuit, saying, “When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times. Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents.”

Tesla additionally issued a assertion to ABC News, saying, “the feedback that we get from our customers shows that they have a very clear understanding of what Autopilot is, how to properly use it, and what features it consists of.”

PHOTO: A traffic collision involving a Tesla Model S sedan with a fire department mechanic truck stopped at a red light in South Jordan, Utah, May 11, 2018. South Jordan Police Department by way of AP, File
A site visitors collision involving a Tesla Model S sedan with a fireplace division mechanic truck stopped at a crimson mild in South Jordan, Utah, May 11, 2018.

The accident involving Metler’s shopper, Heather Lommatzsch, is certainly one of a number of latest crashes involving Tesla’s Autopilot feature. In March, Walter Huang, a 38-year outdated engineer at Apple, died after his Model X crash. In an uncommon transfer, the firm launched particulars in a weblog publish defending Autopilot’s security document, drawing ire from the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), which advised reporters, “NTSB is sad with the launch of investigative data by Tesla.”

Then in June, a Tesla sedan in Autopilot mode crashed in Laguna Beach, California, leading to minor accidents. The NTSB has launched not less than three investigations into accidents associated to Tesla’s Autopilot perform.

“They declare it’s an autopilot automobile,” Metler added. “They put out a message that’s not consistent. That leaves the public relying on the safety of the cars but I don’t think the technology is to the point that people can safely rely on it.”

Lommatzsch, 29, says she crashed her Tesla S on May 11 whereas in Autopilot mode into the stopped firetruck in South Jordan, a Salt Lake City suburb.

She additionally says she was on telephone at the time of the crash.

PHOTO: A traffic collision involving a Tesla Model S sedan with a fire department mechanic truck stopped at a red light in South Jordan, Utah, May 11, 2018.South Jordan Police Department by way of AP, File
A site visitors collision involving a Tesla Model S sedan with a fireplace division mechanic truck stopped at a crimson mild in South Jordan, Utah, May 11, 2018.

Drivers who are utilizing their telephones throughout an accident are normally at fault, Metler mentioned. But due to Tesla’s Autopilot, “we look at it and think it was reasonable to trust the safety features the way it was advertised. Those safety features failed her,” he added.

She suffered accidents to her proper foot after repeated makes an attempt to interrupt earlier than the crash, Metler mentioned.

“She tried to break multiple times, laying on the break,” he mentioned, including that Lommatzsch has had two surgical procedures and a bone graft for her foot and might have one other as a results of the crash.”

She is a actual property agent who has been unable to work, or drive or in any other case put weight on her foot since the accident, Metler mentioned. “She is homebound,” he added.

She is suing for not less than $300,000 in damages.

Lommatzsch purchased the automobile from a Tesla dealership in Utah in 2016 and has been the automobile’s sole proprietor, Metler mentioned.

PHOTO: A Tesla Model S is on display on the first press day of the Frankfurt Auto Show IAA in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 15, 2015.Michael Probst/AP, FILE
A Tesla Model S is on show on the first press day of the Frankfurt Auto Show IAA in Frankfurt, Germany, Sept. 15, 2015.

She had by no means had issues with the Autopilot feature earlier than the May crash however the automobile had been serviced by Service King Collision Repair previous to the crash, the lawyer mentioned, including that he didn’t know what work had been carried out

Service King Collision and Tesla Motors UT Inc. are the different two defendants named in the go well with. Neither instantly responded to ABC News’ request for remark.

Tesla “knew or should have known that the product was unreasonably dangerous to users,” in accordance with Lommatzsch’s go well with, filed Tuesday in Utah’s Third District Court in Salt Lake County.

“Based on conversations with Tesla salespeople,” Lommatzsch thought the “Model S’s security options would guarantee the automobile would cease by itself in the occasion of an impediment being current in the path of the Tesla Model S,” in accordance with the go well with.

The Tesla salesman advised her “she might drive in Autopilot mode and simply contact the steering wheel sometimes,” the go well with alleges.

The South Jordan Police Department report cited data offered by Tesla about the automobile: “Drivers are repeatedly advised Autopilot features do not make Tesla vehicles “autonomous” and that the driver absolutely must remain vigilant with their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and they must be prepared to take any and all action necessary to avoid hazards on the road.”

The police report additionally cites Tesla’s account that the automobile “registered more than a dozen instances of her hands being off the steering wheel in this drive cycle. On two such occasions, she had her hands off the wheel for more than one minute each time and her hands came back on only after a visual alert was provided. Each time she put her hands back on the wheel, she took them back off the wheel after a few seconds,” noting that for the 80 seconds earlier than the crash, Lommatzsch had her fingers off the wheel.



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