Tesla Hit with Lawsuit for Autopilot Crash in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, UT. – September 6, 2018 (arstechnica.com) Automaker Tesla has been named in a lawsuit filed by a Utah woman who crashed her Model S into a firetruck while using the vehicle’s Autopilot feature. The story is reported online at arstechnica.com.*
The collision occurred May 11 in South Jordan, Utah, and involved 29-year-old Heather Lommatzsch. Lommatzsch was driving in Autopilot mode in her Tesla Model S on South Bangerter Highway in South Jordan when she slammed into the back of a fire truck stopped at a red light. Lommatzsch admitted she was using her cell phone at the time of the crash, and preliminary investigation from Tesla shows her hands had been off of the steering wheel for 80 seconds prior to the crash.
Investigation revealed the Tesla vehicle accelerated in the seconds leading up to the crash. Lommatzsch had the vehicle’s speed set at 60 mph, and data obtained from the vehicle shows she took her hands off of the wheel more than 12 times during the driving cycle. Before the crash, the Tesla was apparently following behind another vehicle and had slowed its speed to 55 mph. The car in front of it changed lanes, so the Tesla began to accelerate to return to its set 60 mph. The vehicle then did not perceive a fire truck stopped in front of it and crashed into the back of the truck at full speed. Lommatzsch broke her foot and was charged with a misdemeanor.
Lommatzsch has now filed a lawsuit against Tesla, alleging that marketing for her Model S gave her the understanding that the vehicle would stop on its own in Autopilot mode if an obstacle was in its path. As a result of the accident, Lommatzch alleged, she lost “the pleasure and enjoyment of life and physical impairment.” She is seeking $300,000 in damages.
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