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How dangerous is Tesla's Autopilot system?

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Have you heard about the innovative Autopilot technology that has been developed for Tesla automobiles? When you think about it, this driver assistance system is an amazing move forward in futuristic modes of travel. However, there may be some California drivers who do not understand how the company intends for them to use the Autopilot system, and they might think that the technology is more self-driving than is currently possible.

You may have heard about a recent accident between a Tesla Model S and a fire truck, which might illustrate this point. According to CNBC, the Tesla's driver had Autopilot engaged on Interstate 405 in Culver City, California, when he ran into the back of the stopped fire engine. Authorities have not yet said if they believe the man was not paying attention while driving. Fortunately, there were no injuries, although there was a similar crash in Florida, during which the driver of a Tesla using Autopilot suffered fatal injuries.

What you and other drivers may not know is that Autopilot is meant to enhance safety, but not to replace a driver's paying attention. Business Insider provides the following information about Tesla's Autopilot system:

  • Drivers must keep their hands on the wheel and remain vigilant while Autopilot is in use.
  • Debris or the surrounding scenery may compromise the sensors and cameras on the vehicle.
  • Those who take their hands off the wheel will receive a warning, then Autopilot will disengage.

When used correctly, Autopilot may reduce the risk of collisions by as much as 50 percent, by assisting drivers in braking and changing lanes safely. Those who own these groundbreaking vehicles have a responsibility to understand not only the Autopilot system's advantages, but also its limitations. If you suffer an injury because of a driver who operates a vehicle negligently or uses new technology incorrectly, you may have a right to pursue compensation for your injuries. Speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

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