Tesla CEO criticizes media coverage of semi-autonomous car crash
Drivers in California may be interested in the recent spate of accidents involving self-driving vehicles, especially those that operate on Tesla's Autopilot program. In May, a Utah driver collided with a fire truck even though the Autopilot on her Tesla Model S was engaged. She said she was looking down at her phone when the crash took place.
The Tesla CEO, along with supporters of the company, responded with critical comments on social media. These criticisms were aimed at the news media for giving an undue amount of attention to the accident. Some have asked why the media must focus on an accident that resulted in only a broken ankle when hundreds of more serious crashes occur every day.
In response, media analysts say that the safety concerns of a potential future dominated by autonomous technology deserves scrutiny. For example, many believe that self-driving cars make drivers complacent and distracted. The Utah accident seems to be proof of this.
Another concern is that Tesla's self-driving vehicles have not been adequately tested. A RAND study estimates that it would take billions of miles before a self-driving vehicle can be pronounced safe. Furthermore, the disproportion between the number of Tesla vehicles on the road and the number of crashes is alarming; this partly explains the Utah accident's wide coverage.
An individual who has been struck by a semi-autonomous vehicle still has the right to file for compensation. A successful personal injury claim could cover medical costs and lost wages as well as pain and suffering. Because the settlement could be large, the victim may want to hire a lawyer to build up the case.