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Woman Sues Tesla, Service Provider For Autopilot Crash

In May this year, a woman from South Jordan, Utah, smashed her Tesla into a firetruck stopped at a light, totaling her own vehicle and causing severe damage to the truck.
Tesla crashed into stopped firetruck in Utah 4 photos
Photo: Fox13now.com
Woman smashed Tesla into stopped firetruck, blames it on AutopilotWoman smashed Tesla into stopped firetruck, blames it on AutopilotWoman smashed Tesla into stopped firetruck, blames it on Autopilot
In court papers filed last week, she lays the blame for the crash at the door of Tesla Inc., Tesla Motors Utah Inc. and service provider Service King Paint & Body, Fox13 reports. She’s suing all three on the claim that she was made to believe the car would brake on its own when on Autopilot and that it would come to a full stop when an obstacle came up.

Heather P. Lommatzsch is seeking $300,000 in damages to cover the medical bills for the injuries sustained and the price of the car. She is alleging negligence and breach of warranty on Tesla’s part, and negligence on the service provider’s, which replaced a sensor on the car a month before the crash. She’s also claiming Autopilot didn’t engage before the crash, as neither did the brakes when she tried to use them.

Her claim is likely to win her anything in court, since the police report released after the accident, as well as the Tesla one, confirm that she was driving at high speeds with her hands off the wheel. She also repeatedly engaged and turned off Autosteer and Cruise Control functions, and wasn’t paying attention to the road, which means she braked the car when it was already too late - “fractions of a second” before the crash.

In fact, the woman admitted after the crash that she had been looking at her phone at the time she collided with the firetruck. It turns out she had been doing that intermittently for at least 2 minutes prior to the accident.

Contacted for comment, Tesla stands by its well-known recommendation: drivers should never take their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road when in Autopilot mode.

“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,” the statement reads.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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