Tesla may be sued over latest Autopilot crash

The driver's insurance company has declared the Model S a total loss. Image: Mark Molthan/Bloomberg

A Texas driver was using Tesla’s Autopilot feature when his Model S crashed into the guardrail of a highway. The man has stated he will not sue, however his insurance company may.

Driver Mark Molthan has divulged that he was not paying full attention when his car crashed into the guardrail earlier this month, causing him a bloody nose and a totalled car. He admitted that he was cleaning his dashboard just moments before the crash, as he had full confidence in the Autopilot system.

“I used Autopilot all the time on that stretch of the highway,” said Molthan in a comment to Bloomberg.

 “But now I feel like this is extremely dangerous. It gives you a false sense of security. It missed the curve and drove straight into the guardrail. The car didn’t stop – it actually continued to accelerate after the first impact into the guardrail.”

The law firm representing the driver’s auto-insurance carrier said it sent Tesla a letter requesting joint inspection of the vehicle, which has been declared a complete loss. Meanwhile, Tesla has said it is looking into the crash.

After a number of recent crashes including a fatal crash in Florida, Tesla has repeatedly stressed that the Autopilot system is meant to be used as a driver-assisting function, and that drivers should keep both hands on the wheel and be ready to take control of the vehicle at any time. Some drivers have citedconfusion, as the car was marketed to them as being self-driving.

If the Texas driver’s insurance company sues Tesla over the crash, it will be the first such case, setting a precedent for future lawsuits.