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Tesla just got sued by an owner who crashed while on Autopilot

Published Sep 5th, 2018 5:47PM EDT
Tesla Autopilot crash

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With the recent excitement around Tesla’s production issues, Elon Musk’s tweeting issues, and that whole going-private thing, it’s easy to forget about Tesla’s other persistent issues. But one Utah woman, whose Tesla crashed into a stopped fire truck while on Autopilot, is going to make it hard for Tesla to forget about her.

Heather Lommatzsch said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that Tesla spokespeople overstated the capabilities of the Autopilot system, causing her to use it in an unsafe manner. The crash occured in May of this year, and according to a police report, Lommatzsch wasn’t really paying attention at the time.

Per the Reuters report from the time of the crash:

Police in Utah said a Tesla report of the vehicle showed that the driver of the Model S enabled Autopilot about 1 minute and 22 seconds before the crash. The report said she took her hands off the steering wheel “within two seconds” of engaging the system and then did not touch the steering wheel for the next 80 seconds, until the crash happened.

At the time of the crash, Tesla issued the following statement on the matter: “When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times. Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents.”

In her lawsuit, seen by NBC News, Lommatzsch says that Tesla salespeople overstated Autopilot’s capability:

Heather Lommatzsch claimed in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that Tesla salespeople told her in 2016 when she purchased the Model S that she could just touch the steering wheel occasionally while using the Autopilot mode.

Lommatzsch also claims that the car’s brakes didn’t work when she looked up and saw the fire truck. Lommatzsch is suing for at least $300,000 in damages, related to her physical injuries and medical bills.

Chris Mills
Chris Mills News Editor

Chris Mills has been a news editor and writer for over 15 years, starting at Future Publishing, Gawker Media, and then BGR. He studied at McGill University in Quebec, Canada.