High Tech Cars No Match for Human Error

Q: Are cars with auto-pilot and other safety features able to avoid accidents?

Automotive technology is advancing at warp speed. Airbags and back-up cameras are now common. Manufacturers are producing luxury vehicles that are not only electrically-powered, but that are pushing the boundaries in the new features department with offerings like pop-up, rear-facing backseats. And features once only dreamt of by driving fans—like autopilot—are now a new reality.

But even autopilot is not meant to relieve the driver of his or her ultimate responsibility to remain actively engaged and in control the car. And, despite the continued advancements in automotive technology, neither auto-pilot— nor any other feature—should be relied upon to quickly maneuver a car out of harm’s way on a highway. At least not at this time.

A recent fatal accident on the highway near Seal Beach Boulevard should serve as a wake-up call for those who believe any car—even those loaded with high-tech safety features—can save you from being injured in a car accident.

In August, a father driving his two young daughters in a Tesla Model S was forcefully hit in the rear while travelling along Freeway 405 by a driver suspected of driving while intoxicated in a large, heavy Chevy Tahoe. The high impact collision drove the SUV deep into the passenger department, killing the 10 year-old, critically injuring the 13 year-old, and leaving the father with less serious injuries  A third vehicle was also impacted by the accident. Reports speculated that since the girls were extracted through a front passenger door that they were likely sitting in the standard forward-facing backseat area, rather than in the special rear-facing backseats which are available in the far rear section of the Model S. There was no mention of whether auto-pilot was engaged or not.

The tragic accident leaves a family grieving over the death of one daughter and facing the potentially long process of their other daughter’s recovery from her critical injuries. While nothing can reverse such a tragedy, an attorney with personal injury and wrongful death experience can help those impacted receive compensation for losses that may include current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, and emotional distress. Such compensation can assist victims and survivors in beginning to put the pieces of their lives life back together again.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of the reckless, negligent, or willful actions of another party, the J&Y Law Firm serves clients in Northern and Southern California and can help. Contact the office at (888) 806-6722 for a free consultation.