Some cars may not be as safe as you think. Advertisements suggest that Tesla’s Model X exhibits an autopilot function that is perhaps stronger and more efficient than a typical cruise control feature. Experts even suggest that the objective to create a fully self-driving car would enhance safety on the road and exceed the driving capabilities of a person. Following a February 2021 car accident involving five police officers and one Model X driver, it is clear that some obstacles may stand in the way of Tesla’s future endeavors.
About a half hour north of Houston in a town called Splendora, five police officers were engaged in a traffic stop that required a vehicle search for drugs. The driver of the Tesla, Michael Minh Le, was reportedly over served at a nearby restaurant and was subsequently drunk. He was using the SUV’s autopilot mode to get home. The police vehicles’ lights were flashing but did not trigger an internal warning of the hazard to the driver, who was therefore unable to detect the emergency vehicles on the side of the road. Although this autopilot function was first introduced in 2014, Tesla has arguably failed to correct known issues and is accused of being responsible for this accident.
The Tesla, which was driving at 70 mph, slammed into four parked police vehicles and injured the five officers, as well as the man who was pulled over in the police search. All have suffered injuries and two of the police vehicles were totaled. The officers intend to hold Tesla accountable and have filed a lawsuit in Harris County, seeking $20 million in compensation. While the drunk driver of the Tesla is not listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, the restaurant that over served him prior to the accident is being sued as a potentially responsible party.