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Speculation abounds as to the cause of a fatal Tesla accident

Less than a month after a self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, another fatal accident occurred involving a vehicle where a human was not necessarily at the controls. According to various media reports, a Tesla Model X was in “autopilot” mode when it crashed into the center median on a busy California highway.

Tesla and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident. Speculation abounds as to what exactly led to the crash, and some Tesla owners are trying to recreate the accident to find a possible cause.

The online newsmaker electreck.com recently posted a video from a Tesla owner driving on a similar stretch of road in Chicago. The driver appears to ignore the “hold the steering wheel” warnings provided by the vehicle, and then attempts, to some difficulty, to take control of the car after the warning. It appears that the autopilot mode could slow down a driver’s ability to take control when needed and provides some possible insight into what may have happened in the moments before the crash in California.

It may be the first demonstration of a design defect that could be potentially dangerous in an emergency situation. It also shows that self-driving functions have not been perfected to the point that drivers can be behind the wheel without paying attention. Drivers must still use reasonable care in watching out for all hazards.

It remains to be seen whether the accident will lead to a products liability lawsuit.

The preceding is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.

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