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Tesla Autopilot: Is the Co-Pilot Off the Hook?

In May 2015, the first fatality occurred that is blamed on the Tesla autopilot feature. 40-year old Joshua Brown was killed when his Tesla Model S hit a truck that pulled out in front of his car. The autopilot feature did not detect the truck, failing to brake to avoid the accident. This tragedy has brought the question to the forefront of whether the autopilot or co-pilot is to blame when this software is engaged.

Although Tesla Motors is the first to release a functional autopilot feature, it is not alone in using this technology. Mercedes and other auto manufacturers have similar technology they are using or perfecting. In most cases, the software is reliable and automates braking, steering and lane changes. However, when it comes to accidents and traffic violations, there are more questions than answers of who or what is to blame if the software malfunctions or does not work as advertised.

Autopilot and Traffic Tickets

When it comes to traffic tickets, drivers with autopilot may find it difficult to blame their car for infractions. While it is possible for the software to malfunction, ultimately the driver is held accountable for obeying traffic laws. Not stopping for a red light or going over the speed limit will still be considered the driver’s responsibility, along with following too closely or other traffic violations.

As more cars enter the roadways using autopilot software, it can be assured that more accidents will occur, as well as traffic citations. However, blaming the software is unlikely to negate a ticket for a traffic violation. The good news is that many traffic tickets can be fought and dismissed with an experienced traffic attorney on your side, even without using the autopilot defense.

It is important to remember that when you are behind the wheel, you are responsible for what happens while you are driving. Features like autopilot are meant to facilitate safe driving, not do it for you. Many traffic infractions are issued without adequate proof or justification whether the autopilot was engaged or not.

Traffic Ticket Legal Help

At Bigger & Harman, APC, our aggressive and experienced traffic attorney can help you fight traffic tickets in Bakersfield, Fresno and throughout many counties in California. Call today for a free consultation at 661-349-9300 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.