On behalf of Girardi Keese of Girardi | Keese posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents.
To be fair, Tesla is quite clear about what Autopilot is and what it isn’t. Autopilot – Tesla’s self-driving or “robot car” mode – most certainly is not sleep-in-the-backseat mode or have-a-few-beers mode (though someday that could be the case). But someday is not today. “Autopilot,” Tesla proclaims, “is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver.”
In other words, turning on Autopilot and then checking out, in whatever fashion the driver chooses, be it dozing or boozing, is not fully attentive driving but distracted driving.
Some Tesla owners haven’t read the memo.
Tesla Crashes into Parked Fire Truck
Case in point: As reported by Newsweek, a Tesla crashed into a parked fire truck on the 405 in California, and in a bit of irony, the fire truck was already in the process of responding to a prior crash. This was a crash on top of a crash, caused by an inattentive driver, who apparently relied on Autopilot a bit too much. Culver City Firefighters, in its tweet about the incident, was right to include the #distracteddriving hashtag.
Drunk While on Autopilot
The same Newsweek report describes another case of distracted driving with Autopilot. CHP San Francisco, in its tweet, went for some comedic relief when it wrote that the Tesla was towed (after the driver’s DUI arrest) but that “no it didn’t drive itself to the tow yard.” Highway Patrol found the driver passed out behind the wheel, apparently as the car drove itself across the Bay Bridge.