Tesla Driver Crashes into Police Cruiser While Watching Movie on Autopilot
A Raleigh driver was charged after watching a movie while using the Tesla with the Autopilot feature engaged. According to a report in The Charlotte Observer, the car crashed into a police vehicle on U.S. Highway 64 in North Carolina. North Carolina State Highway Patrol officials said they were responding to an earlier crash when the Tesla rammed into the deputy’s vehicle, which then hit a state trooper’s vehicle. Two of the cars were totaled, but no one was injured, officials said.
The driver, identified as Devainder Goli, is accused of violating the move-over law and watching television while operating a vehicle. This is not the first time a person has gotten into an Autopilot crash behind the wheel of a Tesla. Drivers across the country have been involved in serious car accidents while using Autopilot mode on their cars. According to Tesla’s website, Autopilot enables the vehicle to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane.
Last month, authorities in Arizona said a California man was driving a Tesla in Autopilot mode when it hit a state trooper’s SUV on the side of the highway and pushed it into an ambulance. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has initiated investigations into more than a dozen Tesla crashes in which the Autopilot feature was engaged, dating back to 2016.
The Problem with Autopilot
We’ve seen reports of a number of incidents where drivers have been sleeping, driving drunk or simply driving while distracted in Teslas where Autopilot is engaged. Our auto defect attorneys, like many other consumer safety advocates and groups, have had a problem with the name of this driver-assist feature, which makes the suggestion to drivers that it is an automated feature.
However, the Autopilot feature is not fully automated. It is only a driver-assist feature. Tesla says that drivers should keep their hands on the wheel even when Autopilot is engaged. However, the name, Autopilot, lulls drivers into a sense of false security by suggesting that the feature can do more than what it is capable of. Our auto defect lawyers believe that this arrest in North Carolina is more evidence that Tesla has been misleading motorists about its driver-assist feature.