Will Self-Driving Cars Decrease Road Incidents?

Tesla faces a lawsuit concerning their self-driving technology.


The scene of the Tesla crash leaving the driver dead.

Christian Touhey, Staff Writer

The autopilot feature on Tesla Inc.’s model X car led to a lethal crash on the 101 highway in Mountain View, killing the driver. One month later, the company is still dealing with lawsuits surrounding the incident.

Based on a report from the Mountain View, the driver of the Tesla ignored warning signs from the autonomous vehicle before crashing into a barrier on the 101 highway. The software implemented on Tesla vehicles requires drivers to place their hands on the wheel every few seconds to ensure focus. The car was totaled only miles from the company headquarters.

The lawsuit filed is one of four that the car company is currently facing, issued from the family of the deceased victim. The other cases range from selling defective vehicles to ongoing delays of the Model 3. The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has only spoken publicly about the lawsuit surrounding the Model 3 delays, which he claims is to perfect quality.

“The system worked as described, which is, it’s a hands on system,” Musk told CBS Morning earlier in April. “It is not a self driving system.”

The attorneys of the Tesla crash victim claim that there was a malfunction in the operating system.

Self-driving technology has immensely grown in popularity during the past four years. Manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler have began adding these features to their flagship cars as the technology becomes more accessible. In Arizona, a self-driving Uber ride caused a crash leaving one pedestrian deceased.

While autonomous vehicles may seem like an immense risk to take for safety on the road, others see potential for improvement. Rylan Reich, a senior at Woodside, thinks more lives will be saved in the long run from this technology.

“If there are thousands of self driving cars on the road from now about 100 crashes per month in return, that may seem like a lot,” Reich stated. “But on average every day there are over 3,000 deaths from road incidents and over 1,000,000 every year. I’m inclined to believe that this number would be much smaller if all reckless drivers were replaced with computer systems.”