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San Lorenzo family blames Tesla Autopilot for crash that killed teen son: lawsuit

xxxotic

Member
Feb 14, 2015
29
21
FL
Can I start a class action suit against all car makers on behalf of anyone who was gotten a speeding ticket for going 90 miles an hour?
They know that the maximum limit is about 80 in the United States and about 70 in most states so why do they make cars that can faster than this causing us to get tickets.
I want restitution and the National speed limit to be 250 mph as damages!
 
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rxlawdude

Active Member
Jul 10, 2015
2,952
2,064
Orange County, CA
Can I start a class action suit against all car makers on behalf of anyone who was gotten a speeding ticket for going 90 miles an hour?
They know that the maximum limit is about 80 in the United States and about 70 in most states so why do they make cars that can faster than this causing us to get tickets.
I want restitution and the National speed limit to be 250 mph as damages!
You would have loved the late 1970s speedometers with a mandatory limit on displayed speed to 80mph.:eek:
 
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sperkin

Member
Mar 23, 2017
886
902
Los Angeles, CA
This will be an interesting case. Hopefully someone would follow up with the outcome.

Turning on your blinker and changing lane doesn't give you the right of way. Changing lanes at 5-10mph to a lane that is doing 65-75mph is dumb.

Tesla AP is reactive. As a human driver you would see this coming a mile away and slowed down. You will know from experience some knucklehead will dive into your lane. AP is naive. There would be impact anyway if AP braked. It had 2 dash lines to go 70 to 0 which is impossible in a 4,000+ lb car. Since then Tesla does slow down now when adjust lane is slow, but not like a human. The car still accelerates to 70 when 1/8 mile ahead is dead locked in traffic.

Also, not wearing a seat belt is dumb. Play stupid games, get stupid rewards.
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,161
7,856
Visalia, CA
...Turning on your blinker and changing lane doesn't give you the right of way...

Agreed. I've seen big trucks just do exactly that! They act as if as long as they signal, they can crush anything in the next lane for not yielding timely.

My opinion is when changing lanes, I need to make sure it's safe to do so and I need to consider the speed in the destination lane too.

If the Tesla driver rear-ended the pickup truck that's only partially in the lane, then I think that's the pickup truck driver's fault for not observing safe lance change. On the other hand, I also think that once that pickup truck is fully in the lane, the Tesla needs to observe the safe driving distance and if the Tesla rear-ended the pickup truck while it was fully in the same lane, that's the Tesla driver's fault for not keeping a safe driving distance.
 

Dan D.

Member
Dec 7, 2020
677
757
Vancouver, BC
This will be an interesting case. Hopefully someone would follow up with the outcome.

Turning on your blinker and changing lane doesn't give you the right of way. Changing lanes at 5-10mph to a lane that is doing 65-75mph is dumb.

Tesla AP is reactive. As a human driver you would see this coming a mile away and slowed down. You will know from experience some knucklehead will dive into your lane. AP is naive. There would be impact anyway if AP braked. It had 2 dash lines to go 70 to 0 which is impossible in a 4,000+ lb car. Since then Tesla does slow down now when adjust lane is slow, but not like a human. The car still accelerates to 70 when 1/8 mile ahead is dead locked in traffic.

Also, not wearing a seat belt is dumb. Play stupid games, get stupid rewards.
What you describe is not what happened, did you watch the video? The pickup was driving the same speed as most everyone, maybe 40-50mph. The Tesla was threading through traffic faster than everyone, I think they said 69mph or something, in a couple of seconds it would have caught up to the car in front of it. There was no 70-0, all traffic was moving.

The white car to the left at 0:00 had its right turn signal on, so was finishing or considering a lane change.
The pickup behind it was braking because of the white car.

The pickup to the right was indicating left and merging to the adjacent lane to the right of the Tesla.
The SUV behind it was braking because of the merging pickup.

The white crash pickup was indicating right and changing lanes right ahead of the Tesla.
The large van ahead of the crash pickup was indicating right and changing lanes right ahead of the Tesla & the pickup.

Through all of this the Tesla is speeding much faster than everyone.

If you look closely, if the crash pickup had not changed lanes, the Tesla would have collided with the van.

AP could have done something, that's not for me to say. The Tesla driver could and should have done something. It was always going to collide with something, the pickup or the van. The van was in the Tesla's lane already and would have been struck 0.5 seconds later if not for the pickup.

Van.png
 
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Dan D.

Member
Dec 7, 2020
677
757
Vancouver, BC
Maybe I've missed but would someone post the video links of the accident, please?

Behind a paywall about 80% of the way down the page. You may be able to open it in a private window. I've found I can open them for free on my Android with Chrome. Also in Firefox if you press the "Stop Loading - X" button quickly enough. Perhaps it's reposted somewhere else too.

Found one: it's much darker than the NYTimes video and somewhat obscured by logos:

 
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PorthosJon

Member
May 5, 2021
108
95
Westchester, NY
The DRIVER of the Tesla is at fault in this accident. Using Autopilot is no defense since the the law doesn't recognize the car as a driver, just the person operating the vehicle. The truck has the right of way, because:
  1. It is in front of the Tesla - Passing a vehicle on the right is illegal in most situations over a certain speed.
  2. A rear end collision is ALWAYS the fault of the rear end car. Period.
If the person couldn't predict that the truck would swerve into the lane (and we haven't seen metrics from Tesla to prove if the driver was paying attention or not), how can we expect the car to have a window into the human mind.

FSD is useful for attentive drivers who not only pay attention to the road, but also to the system and its shortcomings.

FSD will never be true FSD until all cars are FSD because the only way for a computer to know what the next move of other cars is would be to make sure all cars are driven by computer and are talking to each other– at least at our current level of mobile computing. Chicken-and-Egg.
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,161
7,856
Visalia, CA
...The truck has the right of way, because:
  1. It is in front of the Tesla - Passing a vehicle on the right is illegal in most situations over a certain speed.
  2. A rear end collision is ALWAYS the fault of the rear end car. Period....

The above "ALWAYS" and "Period" have exceptions:


1626030314644.png
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,161
7,856
Visalia, CA
...Behind a paywall about 80% of the way down the page...
Thanks @Dan D. for the video links!

The New York Times shows TeslaCam with the pickup truck had successfully made into the destination lane fully: All 4 wheels were within the Tesla's lane at the collision instance. According to my standard, since the pickup truck no longer straddled between the 2 lanes but it was completely within Tesla's lane, Tesla driver should observe the safe driving distance in this case. So it's the Tesla driver's fault.

About braking checking: The pickup truck provided courtesy by stepping on the brakes to allow the lane-straddling tall white boxy truck in front to complete the lane change and also to prevent colliding into it. It was a necessity to prevent accidents so this is not an example of brake checking.

1626031885053.png
 
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PorthosJon

Member
May 5, 2021
108
95
Westchester, NY
The above "ALWAYS" and "Period" have exceptions:


View attachment 683498
You are correct, I should have said "ALMOST always". But Contributory and Comparative negligence do not really apply to this situation as the lead car had signaled and begun a lane change prior to the Tesla hitting the car. If there had been negligence on the part of the Truck, then the impact point would have been in the side of the Truck and not the rear.

I just don't see (any actual lawyers on here please let me know if I am wrong) how you can hold the manufacturer responsible in this kind of case as not only do the terms of use say that it MUST be monitored by the driver, but every time AP is engaged it reminds you that you MUST maintain control of the vehicle.
 

Gauss Guzzler

Member
Dec 27, 2020
458
563
Thousand Oaks, California
Through all of this the Tesla is speeding much faster than everyone.

If you look closely, if the crash pickup had not changed lanes, the Tesla would have collided with the van.

AP could have done something, that's not for me to say. The Tesla driver could and should have done something.

The Tesla isn't going significantly faster than either the white car in front of it nor the grey car in the fast lane. This is exactly how freeways work, one or two lanes slow down and others don't. This is normal and most drivers will maintain the speed of their own lane just as the Tesla and several other cars in this video did.

Good catch on the boxtruck! That explains why the pickup driver hit his brakes but it's likely that the boxtruck wouldn't have been so aggressive had the pickup not cleared a path. This too is common freeway etiquette.

While neither AP nor the Tesla driver should be expected to brake every time someone hits their turn signal, a good driver probably would have reacted about 3 seconds prior to the collision when it became clear that the pickup was really going for it. It's disappointing that AP didn't make that "realization" or at least take advantage of the empty lane to the right but it is marketed as an "experimental lane keeping driver assist system", not a magic bullet-dodging device. And this accident occurred many years ago when the system was even more "beta".
 

Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
6,905
9,793
San Diego
I just don't see (any actual lawyers on here please let me know if I am wrong) how you can hold the manufacturer responsible in this kind of case as not only do the terms of use say that it MUST be monitored by the driver, but every time AP is engaged it reminds you that you MUST maintain control of the vehicle.
Well, the Tesla driver isn't the one suing. It seems to me the strongest case against Tesla is that they didn't do enough to stop "reasonably foreseeable misuse", like putting in a more sophisticated driver monitoring system.
Of course it seems to me that the death would probably have been prevented by wearing a seatbelt. Not sure how that plays in to it. I'm not a lawyer. I'm curious about when companies have been held liable for "reasonably foreseeable misuse."
 

Gauss Guzzler

Member
Dec 27, 2020
458
563
Thousand Oaks, California
Well, Ford didn't "reasonably forsee misuse" of their seat belt system either. They marketed the truck with advanced active safety features like airbags, stability control and crumple zones as well as rollover prevention and protection technologies.
 

Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
6,905
9,793
San Diego
Well, Ford didn't "reasonably forsee misuse" of their seat belt system either. They marketed the truck with advanced active safety features like airbags, stability control and crumple zones as well as rollover prevention and protection technologies.
As far as I know the seatbelt wasn't being used at all...
Maybe if they designed some non standard seatbelt that could foreseeably be used incorrectly they could be liable?
For example Chrysler was sued for their non standard shifter design after a death and a bunch of injuries. Not sure what happened with that.
 

ReddyLeaf

Active Member
Mar 19, 2014
1,797
3,347
WA State
Some great analysis of the video by others. One thing nobody seems to have mentioned, so I’ll bring it up. It appears that the Ford driver attempts to turn LEFT, back into the original travel lane, at the last 0.1 sec before impact, once the driver realized the white van/truck was changing lanes. This jerky motion likely caused the Ford to be off its center of gravity at the time of impact, thus assisting in a rollover. Just another factor in a multiple factor crash that results in a death.
1) No seatbelt is the most likely cause of the death.
2) Inattentive Tesla driver.
3) Speed differential (probably connected to 2).
4) Original lane change (prop/legal or not).
5) Attempted lane change to left (not legal).
Lane changes under “emergency” or quickly changing conditions is one of the major causes of crashes. Just DON’T do it. Wait. Had the Ford driver just slowed down, waited 1 sec for the white van/truck, there would have been no death. Perhaps the Tesla would have still crashed into the truck, but that’s a completely different crash with separate conditions (and maybe everyone wearing seatbelts).

On another sad note, the Tesla driver can actually sue the estate of the dead person (or the Ford driver’s insurance company) for the “pain and suffering” of having caused the death.:( Yes, unfortunately, I have 2nd hand knowledge of such a lawsuit, and it was settled out of court with money paid to the person left alive. Crazy world in which we live.
 

Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
6,905
9,793
San Diego
My point was that if a lawyer were to argue that Tesla marketed the AP as being so safe you hardly need to pay attention, they could be discredited with the equally ridiculous claim that Ford marketed their truck as being so safe your child hardly needs to wear a seatbelt.
Yeah, that's why I said I think the strongest case is that Tesla didn't do enough to prevent misuse.
On the other hand Elon is on record saying it is superhuman...
Of course this accident was in 2019 before it achieved superhuman ability so this doesn't apply.
 
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