Utah Tesla Driver: Autopilot Feature to Blame for Fire Truck Accident
SALT LAKE CITY, UT. – September 6, 2018 (abcnews.go.com) The Utah driver who crashed her Tesla into a fire truck in May says the vehicle’s Autopilot feature is to blame for the crash. She is now suing Tesla in connection with the crash, according to an online article from abcnews.go.com.*
On May 11, 2018, 29-year-old Heather Lommatzsch was traveling in her Tesla Model S on South Bangerter Highway in South Jordan, Utah. While using the vehicle’s Autopilot feature (a semi-autonomous driving system), she suddenly 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.
A Preliminary investigation from Tesla showed her hands had been off of the steering wheel for 80 seconds prior to the crash. 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 is now suing Tesla for $300,000 in damages. Her attorney says she tried to brake multiple times before the crash but was unable to, and as a result of her crash injuries, she is “homebound.” Lommatzsch’s lawsuit claims the Autopilot system in her Tesla was defective, did not operate as promised, and was unreasonably dangerous.
Following news of the lawsuit, Tesla said it “has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents.” A spokesperson for Tesla also went on to say, “When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times.”
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