Final Report Released in Tesla Autopilot Crash

February 09, 2017

NHTSA Clears Tesla and Its Autopilot System

Following an eight-month investigation into the death of a Tesla driver killed while driving a vehicle with the company's signature "Autopilot" system active, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released its final report, according to the New York Times. In that report, NHTSA declared that the Autopilot system functioned as intended and that there were no design or manufacturing defects that contributed to the crash. The crash occurred when a motorist driving a Tesla vehicle struck a tractor-trailer that was driving perpendicular to the Tesla vehicle across a highway. Neither the Autopilot system nor the driver detected the semi-truck before the collision, but NHTSA nonetheless concluded that the Autopilot system functioned as it was intended to function.

Warning to Tesla and Others About Deceptive Product Names

NHTSA's report did question Tesla's decision to name its semi-autonomous driver-assist system "Autopilot," a name that may cause confusion among some drivers. The Autopilot system is semi-autonomous, which means that drivers must continue to remain engaged and alert while the vehicle is in motion and be prepared to take control of the car on a moment's notice. Despite the somewhat-confusing name, however, NHTSA acknowledged that drivers of Autopilot-equipped vehicles are provided with sufficient literature and warnings to alert them to the limitations of the system and their duties as drivers.

What Does the Future Hold for Georgia Drivers of Semi-Autonomous Vehicles?

Because of NHTSA's report, drivers in Georgia who use Autopilot-equipped vehicles or other cars with semi-autonomous driver-assist should not expect to see any major changes to the way in which this technology functions or is marketed to consumers. Drivers are still expected to read the safety manual and other literature that accompanies these vehicles and to remain alert and engaged at all times. NHTSA's report suggests that drivers who are involved in a motor vehicle crash will generally not be able to escape liability by claiming that they were unaware of the limitations of their semi-autonomous car's technology. (It should be noted, however, that if a particular vehicle's technology contains one or more defects that makes the semi-autonomous system not function as described or intended, the manufacturer of the technology or another responsible party may be liable for the injuries, losses, and damages that result from a car crash.)

Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law stays abreast of changes in the automotive industry and applauds efforts by automakers and others to make drivers, passengers, and others who use the nation's roadways safer. Semi-autonomous vehicles (and the autonomous vehicles that will soon follow) are a leap forward in automotive safety, but any technology is limited and may unexpectedly fail. In other words, developments in automotive safety features are no reason for drivers to neglect practicing safe and prudent driving behaviors when behind the wheel. Our law firm is well-equipped with the experience and resources to investigate injury or fatality crashes involving a semi-autonomous vehicle. It can be difficult to determine whether the car's technology or driver error (or both!) contributed to a crash, but making this determination is a crucial step in holding the appropriate parties responsible for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses that stem from the crash. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law is committed to helping Georgia car crash victims attempt to recover compensation for their injuries, including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, Pain and Suffering and more. 

Contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you believe you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of an accident, you should consider speaking with a Car Accident Attorney at Montlick & Associates as soon as possible. With more than 35 years of experience helping clients who have been injured in automobile accidents, Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, is a firm with the necessary resources, skill, and dedication to evaluate your case to determine if someone else may be at fault for your injuries.

If you would like to speak with one of our Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys, contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, today by calling (800) LAW-NEED (529-6333) to schedule your free consultation. You may also visit us online at, to complete a Free Case Evaluation Form, and you may also participate in a 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law

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Atlanta, GA 30329
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Category: Accident News

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