While Uber and Tesla have both been experimenting with autonomous driving in their vehicles, Tesla has always maintained that a driver must remain in control of the vehicle at all times. Still, their “autopilot” functions have come under scrutiny of late. In March, a driver died when his Model X SUV crashed into a barrier in California while the autopilot feature was engaged. In 2016, the owner of a self-driving Model S died after the vehicle crashed into a tractor-trailer. More recently, a Utah woman is suing Tesla after her Model S crashed into a firetruck, as WSB Radio reports.
Heather Lommatzsch filed the lawsuit against Tesla in early September, following being injured in a May accident in South Jordan, a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Lommatzsch claims that when she bought the vehicle in 2016, salespeople assured her that while in autopilot mode, she would only need to touch the steering wheel occasionally.
Lommatzsch said that she was using the autopilot function at the time of the May 11th accident. When she noticed that the cars ahead were stopped, she attempted to brake, but the brakes on the vehicle did not work.
Lommatzsch suffered from a broken foot in the crash. She claims in her lawsuit that she is seeking damages for injuries that affected her ability to enjoy life and led to substantial medical bills. The lawsuit is seeking at least $300,000 in damages.
Reports from the incident revealed that Lommatzsch was cited by police and said that she had been looking at her phone just before the crash.
Data taken from the car indicates that just before the accident, the car sped up for about 3.5 seconds. The data also indicate that the brakes were manually engaged just a fraction of a second before the impact.
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