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

JackLuminous

Member
Apr 29, 2021
86
45
Northern Virginia

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:

Ok, I watched the video and it looks like the fault of the Tesla driver to me. I completely agree with the poster above who said the Tesla would have rammed the white box truck in front of the pickup. Tesla's responsibility in this is minor IMHO. However, although the manual and UI is full of notices about maintaining awareness and control, I think Tesla still oversells the capability (the "beta" tag is a bit of an escape hatch.) We can see this very thing in Musk's tweet about "superhuman"
 
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Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
6,905
9,793
San Diego
Are we saying that the accident doesn’t happen if it wasn’t a Tesla? Because I think that is the only way Tesla would be liable here.....
The problem may not be unique to Tesla. I know GM's system has camera driver monitoring which might have prevented it? I think the fanciest systems now have lidar which certainly would have prevented this particular accident. I don't really see the relevance since all these systems are so new and performance standards haven't really been established.
If the car didn't have lane keeping and TACC I think it's incredibly unlikely that this particular accident would happen. Almost no one would be driving in heavy traffic with that large a speed differential while not looking at the road.
 
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stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,821
5,755
The problem may not be unique to Tesla. I know GM's system has camera driver monitoring which might have prevented it? I think the fanciest systems now have lidar which certainly would have prevented this particular accident. I don't really see the relevance since all these systems are so new and performance standards haven't really been established.
If the car didn't have lane keeping and TACC I think it's incredibly unlikely that this particular accident would happen. Almost no one would be driving in heavy traffic with that large a speed differential while not looking at the road.
Judging by the amount of accidents that have happened even before TACC or lane keeping existed, I doubt that to be the case. Distracted driving existed well before TACC and lane keeping came into being.
 

Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
6,905
9,793
San Diego
Judging by the amount of accidents that have happened even before TACC or lane keeping existed, I doubt that to be the case. Distracted driving existed well before TACC and lane keeping came into being.
Absolutely, I was just giving my opinion of this particular situation. You can see at the start of the video that they're already going much faster than the adjacent lanes. It just doesn't look like a situation where someone would start looking at their phone or something to me.
 

qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
3,466
2,477
VB
The problem may not be unique to Tesla. I know GM's system has camera driver monitoring which might have prevented it? I think the fanciest systems now have lidar which certainly would have prevented this particular accident. I don't really see the relevance since all these systems are so new and performance standards haven't really been established.
If the car didn't have lane keeping and TACC I think it's incredibly unlikely that this particular accident would happen. Almost no one would be driving in heavy traffic with that large a speed differential while not looking at the road.
Texting while driving is a leading cause of accidents.... and most cars don’t have tacc or autosteer
 

mark95476

Active Member
Jun 21, 2020
1,710
1,055
Bay Area CA
Also, the door on any vehicle shouldn't open during accidents. It's safer to be inside the vehicle, even unbuckled, rather than being ejected onto a freeway,


"Let’s think about that for a moment. Jovani Moldanado was not wearing his seat belt. Did that contribute to his death? Should the passenger door of the Explorer have opened when it was hit in the rear? Arguably not, which suggests Ford could get dragged into this."

Seatbelts save lives. I’ll just leave it at that.
 

Economite

Member
Dec 19, 2016
490
416
Los Angeles
Basically I have a hard time seeing how a judge or jury would lay blame on the system in cases of inaction that is expected as part of the design specification (it's different for example if driver stepped on brakes and brakes didn't respond). The only cases where I see you can even begin to make that claim of defect is if an accident happened due to active action by the system and the driver had no time to override it (for example if the system actively swerved into a car in another lane, giving no time for driver to react). That's obviously not the case here
So, by your logic, any car manufacturer can put any "driver assist" logic into a car; and as long as the manual says "it's the driver's responsibility to override the logic if the logic is about to get into an accident" the manufacturer should never be liable to third parties who get killed by a car using the logic?

And you think that's true no matter how much worse the logic is than a driver would be, no matter how unpredictable to the driver the logic is, and no matter how little time the driver might have to see what the logic is doing, decide it's a mistake and override?

That gives manufacturers no incentive to improve the quality of their logic rather than rush to market.
 
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qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
3,466
2,477
VB
Relying on saftey features to keep you safe (as opposed to practicing safe driving practices) is doomed to fail.

You will just throw your head harder into the wall assuming the extra protection will keep you safe.
 

Economite

Member
Dec 19, 2016
490
416
Los Angeles
Relying on saftey features to keep you safe (as opposed to practicing safe driving practices) is doomed to fail.

You will just throw your head harder into the wall assuming the extra protection will keep you safe.
I disagree that AP (or, really, the advanced cruise control with lane keeping that is the part of AP were talking about) is a safety feature. It's a convenience feature.

AEB is a safety feature. And you shouldn't rely on it. But it also is truly a back-up that jumps in after it is too late for the driver to fix the driver's mistake. That's very different from AP, where the logic does most of the driving for the driver, but the driver is expected to jump in to fix APs mistakes.
 

mark95476

Active Member
Jun 21, 2020
1,710
1,055
Bay Area CA
Agreed...

However, then you can sue someone/anyone with deep-pockets for not stopping you.
/sarcasm but all too true

Relying on saftey features to keep you safe (as opposed to practicing safe driving practices) is doomed to fail.

You will just throw your head harder into the wall assuming the extra protection will keep you safe.
 

rxlawdude

Active Member
Jul 10, 2015
2,952
2,064
Orange County, CA
AEB is a safety feature. And you shouldn't rely on it. But it also is truly a back-up that jumps in after it is too late for the driver to fix the driver's mistake. That's very different from AP, where the logic does most of the driving for the driver, but the driver is expected to jump in to fix APs mistakes.
AEB does not stop the vehicle. It merely reduces speed.

Like TACC does other than edge cases, such as a pickup truck making an illegal lane change just feet in front of a car.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,821
5,755
So, by your logic, any car manufacturer can put any "driver assist" logic into a car; and as long as the manual says "it's the driver's responsibility to override the logic if the logic is about to get into an accident" the manufacturer should never be liable to third parties who get killed by a car using the logic?

And you think that's true no matter how much worse the logic is than a driver would be, no matter how unpredictable to the driver the logic is, and no matter how little time the driver might have to see what the logic is doing, decide it's a mistake and override?

That gives manufacturers no incentive to improve the quality of their logic rather than rush to market.
Did you not read the second half that you quoted? If the system does an active action that a driver literally has no chance to override, I could see the automaker being possibly liable. But other than that, if the action or inaction is well described as expected in the design, and the driver has plenty of time to respond, I don't see how the automaker would be responsible.

Let's take regular old cruise control for example: it does not brake or slow by itself. If a driver uses cruise control and crashes due to it not slowing for traffic ahead, should the car maker be liable? Next let's look at ACC: they tend to have a known limitation (described in the manuals) that it does not brake or slow for a stationary or slow moving vehicle, especially if it was following a different target vehicle. For the same reason, the automaker is not liable as long as that limitation is well documented and the driver is given plenty of time to react.
 
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Economite

Member
Dec 19, 2016
490
416
Los Angeles
Did you not read the second half that you quoted? If the system does an active action that a driver literally has no chance to override, I could see the automaker being possibly liable. But other than that, if the action or inaction is well described as expected in the design, and the driver has plenty of time to respond, I don't see how the automaker would be responsible.

Let's take regular old cruise control for example: it does not brake or slow by itself. If a driver uses cruise control and crashes due to it not slowing for traffic ahead, should the car maker be liable? Next let's look at ACC: they tend to have a known limitation (described in the manuals) that it does not brake or slow for a stationary or slow moving vehicle, especially if it was following a different target vehicle. For the same reason, the automaker is not liable as long as that limitation is well documented and the driver is given plenty of time to react.
Regular cruise control behaves in a completely predictable manner.

If you set regular cruise control to 65 MPH and you rear end a car, the manufacturer should have no liability to anyone as long as your car was going 65.

I did read both halves of the post I responded to. Almost by definition, AP cuts down on reaction time, since you are less reacting to the environment than reacting to AP's actions. You can't have a complete model of everything AP will and will not do.

I'm not criticizing AEB for failing to kick in. I'm criticizing AP (ie advanced cruise control plus lanekeeping) for having no reaction at all to the fact that the cars on either side are going so much slower than the Tesla and having no reaction to the pickup's turn signal. The feature, far from being a safety feature, was mimicking a very bad driver.
 
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rxlawdude

Active Member
Jul 10, 2015
2,952
2,064
Orange County, CA
Next let's look at ACC: they tend to have a known limitation (described in the manuals) that it does not brake or slow for a stationary or slow moving vehicle, especially if it was following a different target vehicle. For the same reason, the automaker is not liable as long as that limitation is well documented and the driver is given plenty of time to react.
That limitation is l very likely to be mitigated with all vision-based TACC.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,821
5,755
I disagree that AP (or, really, the advanced cruise control with lane keeping that is the part of AP were talking about) is a safety feature. It's a convenience feature.

AEB is a safety feature. And you shouldn't rely on it. But it also is truly a back-up that jumps in after it is too late for the driver to fix the driver's mistake. That's very different from AP, where the logic does most of the driving for the driver, but the driver is expected to jump in to fix APs mistakes.
L2 features (both ACC and ACC with lane keeping) reduce mental workload significantly vs manual driving according to a survey of studies. And if that freed mental capacity is used for driving related tasks, it's been shown to help improve situational awareness:
https://ris.utwente.nl/ws/portalfiles/portal/6825168/effects.pdf

Of course the flip side is if that mental capacity is used to do non-driving related tasks (like texting) it can reduce situational awareness. However, this is balanced by the fact that while there are some people that previously would not do that type of distracted driving that do it given ACC or ACC with lane keeping, I would venture to guess that many, if not most of the people doing that type of distracted driving would have done it also even if they didn't have ACC or lane keeping. Then you have to factor in that during distracted driving, ACC/lane keeping gives the driver a better chance of not crashing (basically I would rather have a distracted driver using ACC/lane keeping than one without), and overall ACC/lanekeeping may improve safety. Of course it's hard to put real numbers into this and I don't believe a survey have been done on this (people criticize that Tesla's numbers do not break down the road types so is not useful for such an analysis).
 

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