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Over Reliance on Autopilot Features Increases Car Accident Risks


Today’s newer model vehicles boast a slew of modern technological advances designed to protect drivers and to make your time behind the wheel easier. While automatic safety features such as lane assist and collision avoidance systems do help, over reliance on them can lead to car accidents. Particularly with the proliferation of self-driving vehicles on the road, drivers need to be aware of the limits in this technology and the ways that not paying attention could put them at risk.

Autopilot Feature Blamed for Florida Turnpike Accident

A Florida man filed a lawsuit against car manufacturer Tesla, claiming the company’s self-driving vehicle failed to prevent him from being involved in a collision. ABC News reports that Shawn Hudson was driving his Tesla Model S on the Florida turnpike during his two hour commute to a job in Fort Pierce when he struck a disabled vehicle on the side of the road, leaving him with serious injuries.

The length of his commute was one of the primary reasons he chose Tesla, which offers an autopilot feature. Hudson claims he had both hands on the wheel but was looking down at his cellphone when the crash occurred. While Tesla advertises enhanced autopilot features such as auto steer and automatic lanes changes, they warn that drivers still need to pay attention and should be prepared to intervene as needed. Hudson’s case comes on the heels of several other crashes throughout the country involving self driving vehicles and those with autopilot features.

Autopilot Features Are Not Fail Proof

While autopilot and other advanced safety features continue to be in high demand among new car buyers, they are not fail safe as the above situation shows. However, they can be useful in helping some drivers avoid car accidents and in reducing the severity of injuries when a crash occurs.

Consumer Reports states that the latest safety features can warn you if you are drifting out of your lane, closing in on another vehicle, or about to hit someone in your blind spot. Among the most common include:

  • Automatic emergency braking (AEB), which automatically applying the brakes in the event of an impending collision;
  • Forward collision warning (FCW), which alerts you if you are approaching another driver too quickly;
  • Lane-keeping assist (LKA), which uses sensors and automatic corrective steering to prevent drifting out of your lane;
  • Adaptive cruise control, which can automatically keep a safe distance between you and other motorists.

By providing alerts and possibly slowing down the vehicle, these features can help to protect driver safety. However, even if your car is equipped with these or other autopilot features, you still need to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road at all times.

Let Us Help You Today

When any type of crash or collision occurs, the Law Firm of William E. Raikes, III can provide you with the legal guidance you need in seeking compensation. To request a consultation to discuss how we can help in your particular case, reach out and contact our Fort Pierce car accident attorney today.


The Law Office of William E. Raikes III is located in Fort Pierce, FL and serves clients in and around the communities of Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie and Vero Beach.

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