Tesla’s Accident Record Improves, but Crashes Still Happen
Tesla releases safety reports on its vehicles quarterly. These include Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y. The company claims its vehicles have achieved among the lowest overall probability of injury for any vehicles ever tested by the federal government’s New Car Assessment Program in its fourth quarter 2022 Tesla Vehicle Safety Report. Although the latest statistics look promising and crash rates have steadily improved, critics claim that Tesla’s data may be misleading.
What Are the Latest Tesla Statistics?
Tesla counts all accidents in its statistics, regardless of whether they were caused by drivers of other vehicles. According to the latest data, the number of miles driven per accident registered is consistently increasing when Autopilot is in use. As a comparison, in the third quarter of 2018, one accident occurred for every 3.35 million miles traveled, while in the third quarter of 2022, the company noted one accident in every 6.26 million miles. In the fourth quarter of 2022, Tesla recorded one crash for every 4.85 million miles driven with Autopilot technology. Crash rates were significantly higher for Tesla vehicles not using Autopilot technology but still much lower than the U.S. average.
What Are the Reasons for Tesla Vehicles’ Improving Safety Record?
Tesla attributes much of the safety of its vehicles to the rigid, fortified structure of the battery pack mounted to the vehicle’s floor. It claims this feature provides large crumple zones, exceptional strength, and a low center of gravity. The company states that all of its vehicles manufactured after September 2014 come with standard active safety features beyond the car’s physical structure for an added protection layer. Tesla asserts that its vehicles are engineered with a unique combination of passive safety, active safety, and automated driver assistance to help keep all drivers and passengers safe.
What Are Critics Saying About Tesla’s Data?
Critics state that Tesla’s data gives an incorrect impression based on the following information:
- The company counts a crash as an airbag deployment. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other official sources count a crash as an accident that is reported to the police or an insurance company.
- Autopilot is mainly used on highways, while Full Self-Driving Capability (FSD) is used on city streets. As highways have a much lower rate of crashes than city streets, figures comparing the number of miles driven per accident using Autopilot technology to Tesla vehicles not using this technology and the U.S. average could be misleading.
- Drivers are more likely to engage Autopilot on clear roads with nice weather and no construction. In easy driving conditions, accidents are less likely to occur.
- Reportedly, FSD is an immature product that requires frequent intervention. For that reason, drivers using FSD need to pay careful attention to avoid a crash. They drive diligently because they must, and therefore have fewer accidents.
How Is Liability Determined After a Tesla Vehicle Accident?
Liability for a Tesla vehicle crash depends on what caused the accident and who was responsible. If you were injured in a collision caused by driver negligence, the at-fault may be held liable, regardless of the vehicle they were driving. On the other hand, if the crash was caused by a malfunction of Autopilot or other driver assistance technology, Tesla or another party may be liable for your accident and injuries.
Knowledgeable Legal Representation
At The Lenahan Law Firm in Dallas, Texas, we have the knowledge and resources to thoroughly investigate your accident, determine fault and liability, and effectively pursue the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a Tesla, our Dallas car accident lawyers want to hear about it. We’ll sit down with you to explore your legal options. Contact The Lenahan Law Firm at (214) 295-1008 to schedule a free initial case consultation.