Inattentive Driving Is Negligence

Maybe you’ve noticed that there have been quite a few articles on our blog about Tesla over the years. We’ve shared our thoughts on Tesla’s autopilot (they call it driver assist). We have addressed their infotainment features, such as watching movies and playing video games while driving. In all those articles, you would think that we are anti-Tesla. We are neither anti-Tesla nor anti-technology, and what we are is anti-negligence.

When a manufacturer creates a product that enables a consumer to no longer be in control of their environment, it can potentially lead to another being injured or, worse, killed. Allowing that product to be fitted into a vehicle that can travel on highways at high speeds creates an opportunity for negligence to occur fast and with great destructive force.

Oh, but Telsa’s are cool. Yes, they can be.

But does being cool allow for negligence to be overlooked? To turn a blind eye too?

One of the most important things to understand about personal injury law in the context of auto accidents is the principle of negligence. To recover damages for an injury sustained in a car accident, you must be able to prove that the other driver was negligent in some way. This means they failed to exercise the level of care and caution a reasonable person would have under the same circumstances.

The most common form of negligence in car accidents is distracted driving. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the road, such as texting, eating, or playing with the infotainment display. Suppose an accident occurs as a result of distracted driving. In that case, the distracted driver can be held liable for any injuries or damages that result.

Allowing drivers to engage driver assist (autopilot) takes the driver’s eyes off the road and onto something else or nothing at all. Recently a driver of a Tesla engaged the driver assistant and quickly fell asleep. A police officer noticed the driver slumped over, pulled his cruiser next to the Tesla (while on a highway doing 82 mph), and tried to get the driver to wake up. Fortunately, the driver did wake up and was able to safely stop. Nobody was injured, thank goodness. And the driver was cited for “inattentive driving.”

Imagine if that scenario played out differently. At 82 miles per hour, the driver of the Tesla could have caused so much death, and destruction had he collided with other cars.

Sadly, a California man died when his Tesla impacted the rear of a stopped tractor-trailer. The man had shared videos on his social media of him engaging the driver assistant right before the crash.

Again we are not anti-Tesla. But what is the solution when a company demonstrates that it values technology-assisted features over the laws that are supposed to keep consumers safe? Many states are now pursuing legislation that would hold autonomous vehicle (AV) companies accountable for manufacturing vehicles that can lead to a violation of roadway rules.

The Law Offices of David W. Holub is a personal injury law firm located in Merrillville, Indiana, focused on providing efficient and effective client-centered representation. Our mission is to provide top-quality legal representation. This mission includes an uncompromising pursuit of our client’s legal interests while being accessible and attentive to our clients during times of personal challenge.

The firm concentrates on personal injury cases, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation. We work tirelessly to serve each client aggressively and with empathy, to communicate regularly and clearly, and to obtain prompt and favorable results while adhering to a high standard of excellence and integrity. Our team considers it a high honor to be called upon to serve our clients, whom we often regard as friends. Call our number (219)736-9700 for assistance today.

*If you would like to learn more about personal injury law, we encourage you to listen to our Personal Injury Primer Podcast where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law. And read “Fighting For Truth: A Trial Lawyer’s Insight Into What It Takes To Win,” an entertaining and enlightening book pulling readers into the courtroom, giving them a glimpse of the legal process and what it takes to win at trial.

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