Tesla Hit With Wrongful Death Lawsuit Over Fatal Model 3 Autopilot Crash

Tesla has been hit with a wrongful death lawsuit after the death of a 50-year-old man who was using Autopilot in his Model 3 on March 1 this year.

The Verge reports that a lawyer for the family announced the lawsuit on Thursday but reports that it has yet to be filed with the Palm Beach County Clerk. The lawyer also stated that Tesla has video of the accident from the car’s onboard cameras but it remains to be seen if the family has been granted access to this footage.

50-year-old Jeremy Beren Banner was behind the wheel of his red Tesla Model 3 on March 1 driving along a Florida highway at 68 mph (109 km/h) when the electric vehicle slammed into a tractor-trailer which was crossing its path. The impact tore off the roof of the Tesla before the vehicle came to a stop some 1600 feet (487 meters) away from the crash site.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated in May that the Autopilot system had been turned on about 10 seconds before the collision. According to the report, the driver’s hands were not detected on the steering wheel for about eight seconds before the impact.

Tesla itself asserts that vehicle data logs show Banner “immediately removed his hands from the wheel” after enabling Autopilot meaning he wasn’t complying with Tesla’s instructions for drivers to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.

The NTSB’s investigation into the crash may take another year before being completed.


  • ctk4949

    I thought semis were required to have those side rails on the trailer to prevent cars from going under them??

    • Jason Miller

      Haven’t seen those in years.

      • brn

        They removed them for the Fast & Furious movies.

  • robotlogic

    Why not sue the trucking company and its driver who failed to yield and caused the accident? This is why I detest accident layers.

    • Mr. EP9

      Tesla was traveling at 68 mph before the crash and the driver hands were not on the steering wheel. I hardly doubt it’s the trucker’s fault.

      • TrevP

        Eh…..it looks to me as if the trucker turned in front of the Tesla….while the driver of the Telsa didnt have his hands on the steering wheel it seems like this could have happened no matter what car he was driving. Its just another accident. Its high profiled cause its a Telsa? Give me a break. Thousands of crashes happen every day

  • MayTheBestCarWin05

    I’m sure the family is devastated by his untimely passing. But suing Tesla bc of the driver’s documented and deliberate negligence is not the answer.

  • iddqd

    anyone who believes as much in ‘modern’ driving aids as to give up all control in favor of some obscure system…
    do i need say more.

    • Julien Lachemoi

      You didn’t finish your sentence so if you want to be clearly understood then yes.

      • iddqd

        take a wild guess, frenchie…

        • Julien Lachemoi

          No. People shouldn’t need to guess what you’re trying to say.

  • charlotteharry57

    Tesla MUST have a bunch of these lawsuits pending, by now. Funny how Elon, aka “Mr. EV” has actually scared MANY AWAY from EVs. And autonomous vehicles.

    • Jason Miller

      The fact that they can’t keep up with deliveries on sales says otherwise.


  • TheBelltower

    Unless the family can prove that the driver hit the brakes and they failed, they’re going to lose. Also, Tesla needs to modify their “hands on the wheel” comment. Tesla cars don’t measure whether hands are actually on the wheel. and there are no sensors within the wheel. They measure slight amounts of torque applied to the wheel. So if your hand is draped lightly at the bottom of the wheel, Tesla doesn’t register that.

    • Robert

      Agreed. I also think the government should make Tesla change the stupid “autopilot” name to something more in line of what it is, SuperCruise like Cadillac. To many of the zombies who buy these things think ‘autopilot’ is the same as an airplane, all they need to do is push a button and they can go back to texting, vlogging or whatever else these jellyfish do while driving those overpriced golf carts.

      • brn

        When autopilot came to aircraft, it didn’t do any more than it does on a Tesla.

        • Robert
          • brn

            I don’t understand.

            Use your words.

          • Robert

            “Use your words”. To give you what you want a senseless back and forth about autopilot in airplanes now? Not interested. Keep it moving…

        • Shobin Drogan

          Well, afaik autopilots on planes have info on other planes trajectory and flight patterns to ensure nothing goes wrong. Also they do not need to deal with the unpredictable nature and patterns of other human drivers.

  • An Existing Person


    • Dennis James

      People always think that “auto” means “perfect”, which is simply not true.

      No one should let himself in the hands of an “artificial intelligence” which has less brain power than a chimp.

  • Finkployd

    The splatter on the white backseats is awful, my god

  • Porkopolis

    “The lawyer also stated that Tesla has video of the accident from the car’s onboard cameras but it remains to be seen if the family has been granted access to this footage.”

    TFW you realize Tesla uses its customers as crash test dummies in real world scenarios.

  • Ron

    The speed limit on that road is 55mph, he set the “autopilot” to 68mph and let go of the wheel. I know that road, its a divided highway with lots of lights and cross traffic. Setting your cruise control at that speed on that road is asinine.

    Tesla is not to blame for this guy making really poor decisions, however, Tesla is at fault for what I consider to be false advertising with its “autopilot”. It is not even close to be fully autonomous and should not be called as such.

  • TrevP

    The fact that Tesla is being blamed for this is absurd! No where has Tesla ever indicated you have to use autopilot. They have also stated several times that it’s not capable to full autonomous driving. And for those of you who think the word autopilot is deceiving obviously don’t have a brain smart enough to think that you can let AI drive for you. Like a comment already says down below, it’s no different from autopilot on a plane. Sad situation for the family that lost their loved one. Drivers fault for not taking control of the vehicle. Move on. It’s just another car crash. You can blame the car.

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