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Does Tesla’s Autopilot Mean Fewer Crashes?

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers weigh in on accidents involving vehicle autopilot features. Tesla’s first Vehicle Safety Report notes that drivers who used their autopilot features had substantially fewer accidents than those who did not. The report specifically analyzed the number of miles driven before a collision and concluded that drivers using the autopilot features can travel almost 1.42 million miles further without experiencing a wreck.

Tesla’s autopilot features include:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control: Maintains a set distance from the car in front, even if the lead car slows down
  • Auto Steer: Keeps the vehicle between painted lane markings

Does Autopilot Create a False Sense of Safety?

Although Tesla is known for boasting its safety record and advanced technology, their report faces criticism for its lack of substantial data and analysis.

For example, when comparing the accident rates of the autopilot system to autonomous driving, the report does not include:

In other words, a driver on a narrow, snowy road already faces a higher risk of accident, whether they use autopilot or not.

Tesla stresses that both autopilot features are for use in limited circumstances. However, critics are concerned that drivers may be lulled into a false sense of security, and they question if it is ever responsible to imply that using autopilot is a safer option than a human driving.

In fact, since Tesla’s autopilot release in 2014, two people have died while auto pilot was engaged, and three have crashed into stopped fire trucks.

Using Autopilot Responsibly

While it may be too early to identify if autopilot truly decreases the risk of accidents, it may be safe to assume that it does help more people than it harms. This is because the given technology is generally thought to decrease the consequences associated with distracted driving, drunk driving, and drowsy driving.

However, drivers should make sure to use autopilot responsibly. In addition to keeping in mind that any autopilot system is not a self-driving system, always do the following:

  • Adjust cruise control speed for roads and weather
  • Always keep hands on wheel
  • Keep eyes on road at all times

There is no word yet on when Autopilot 8.0 will be offered to Tesla owners, but the company has decided to install safety features for those who do not follow the rules. Although autopilot currently includes several visual and audible warning signs when drivers take their hands off the wheel, the future may bring a total vehicle shut down if drivers refuse to comply.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Recover Maximum Compensation for Your Injuries

If you have been injured in a car accident involving the use of autopilot features, or sustained injuries from any other type of collision, the experienced Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. are ready to hear your story. Our dedicated legal team can help determine who is responsible for your accident and what types of compensation you may be entitled to. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780, or submit an online inquiry form.

We assist injured accident victims and their families across South Carolina, including those in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

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