Coverage of Tesla self-driving car crash provokes controversy

Arizona residents may remember that in March, an Uber-owned self-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian. It caused Uber to pull all of its self-driving cars in this state. A recent self-driving car crash, this time in Utah, has created controversy of a different kind.

The driver of a Tesla Model S crashed into a fire truck while looking down at her phone, suffering a broken ankle in the process. The Autopilot program was on the whole time. The wide news coverage that the crash received, and not so much the crash itself, has led to criticism from the Tesla CEO along with Tesla supporters. They argue that it's wrong for such a minor incident to become front-page news when hundreds of people die each day in other more serious accidents.

Many people reply that the criticism is missing the point and that Tesla supporters simply don't want self-driving vehicle technology to be scrutinized. Such technology can only be proven safe after billions of miles of test driving, according to a RAND study, but Tesla is far from achieving this.

The Utah incident also justifies concerns that self-driving vehicle tech will make drivers complacent. The reason for the news coverage likely lies in the fact that most people still distrust the technology. Any accident involving it will naturally become news.

For their part, victims of motor vehicle accidents who are injured through no fault of their own may choose to file an injury claim against the responsible party's insurance company. This aspect does not change even if the responsible party was driving a semi-autonomous vehicle because everyone must maintain control over their vehicle at all times. Victims may retain a lawyer for help with gathering evidence, calculating a settlement and negotiating for it. The lawyer might litigate if negotiations fail.

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  • United States District Court | District Of Arizona
  • Maricopa Country Bar Association
  • State Bar Of Arizona
  • United States Court Of Appeals | Ninth Circuit

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