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.