Tesla is being sued by a mourning New York wife after her husband died in a car accident.
The accident occurred when his white 2020 Model 3 crashed into a tree during a snowstorm in Rockland County, New York. Sadly, he survived the initial impact but was unable to escape the car, which exploded.
The firefighters who responded to the scene faced significant challenges in extinguishing the flames due to the car’s lithium-ion battery.
The battery had ruptured and entered a state of “thermal runaway,” making it extremely difficult to manage. Thermal runaway occurs when a lithium-ion cell heats up, triggering a chain reaction that releases more energy and generates additional heat.
According to the Daily Mail, firefighters used over 1,000 gallons of water to put out the fire. Unfortunately, the husband was declared dead at the scene.
The wife claims that the car’s design makes it unreasonably dangerous for its intended purpose, suggesting that it is not crashworthy. Although the Tesla Model 3 is advertised as having a strong structure, impact protection, and low rollover risk, she believes it failed to meet these claims.
According to Tesla’s website, their vehicles are equipped with autopilot technology which assists owners with driving tasks such as steering, acceleration, and braking. It’s uncertain whether the autopilot feature was engaged during the accident.
Earlier this year, Tesla issued a recall of over 362,000 vehicles in the US due to concerns that the self-driving software could potentially lead to accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that the Full Self-Driving Beta software enables the vehicle to exceed speed limits. It may also cause the car to navigate intersections unlawfully or unpredictably.
In response to these claims, CEO Elon Musk disputed the use of the term “recall” for an over-the-air software update, deeming it outdated and inaccurate. However, the company had to recall a version of Full Self-Driving in October 2021 after owners reported sudden and unexpected braking at highway speeds following an overnight update.
Additionally, in 2022, more than 50,000 vehicles were recalled over concerns that vehicles equipped with Full Self-Driving had the ability to proceed through intersections without stopping at stop signs, using a “rolling stop” function.