Tesla garners headlines for its reputation for innovation in the electric car market. A future with more electric cars on Georgia roads may be one with fewer emissions, but those days might not be automatically safer. Drivers make mistakes no matter what vehicle they operate, and some cars could come with defects that endanger others on the road. Negative publicity about Tesla and its product liability woes seems to reinforce this belief.
Tesla and product liability dangers
A December 2019 incident highlights concerns some consumers might have about Tesla vehicles. During that time, a Tesla car crashed into a stopped emergency vehicle leading to one person suffering horrible injuries and another person losing her life. Tesla models appear to have an issue with emergency vehicles when operating in autopilot mode.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration logged 11 incidents where Tesla models failed to react appropriately when approaching emergency vehicles with flashing lights. Those 11 incidents involved troubling collisions that might have been avoided.
Although Tesla instituted a wireless update to its self-driving software, the company seems to know the autopilot mode has a longstanding problem with stopping near stationary objects. The dangers of rear-end collisions may increase significantly when a self-driving model hits a stopped vehicle.
Vehicles and product liability
Traditional and electric vehicles that hit the market while experiencing manufacturer-derived problems could face defective product lawsuits. When the producer and seller realize a dangerous defect exists, not taking immediate action to resolve the problem with the defective products or letting the public know could be negligence.
With Tesla, some models operate as test vehicles. Allowing prototype models on the road might be negligent since the manufacturer may expect “bugs” in the systems.
Drivers who know they are operating a model with defects could also face lawsuits. After learning about a vehicle’s safety issues, failure to take action may face credible negligence claims. Ultimately, anyone who contributes to an accident might become a defendant, and automobile collision lawsuits could seek damages from several parties.