Tesla is under scrutiny for its Autopilot feature with several accidents proving people aren’t using it properly. The company vigorously denies there’s a problem with their cars and blames user error. Now a man is claiming his Tesla spontaneously accelerated right through his garage wall and into his living room. Tesla is blaming this on user error, too.
Ji Chang Son filed a suit claiming his Model X took on a life of its own while he was trying to park the car in his garage. Son says he was slowly pulling into his driveway as the garage door opened when the car sped forward.
It wasn’t a slow creep, but an abrupt acceleration that sent the car through a wall that included several wooden supports and a metal sewer pipe. It didn’t stop until it reached Son’s living room.
He filed suit in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of Calfornia seeking class action status. The complaint references similar instances of sudden acceleration that are in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration database.
Years ago, this sort of claim was difficult to prove either way. A driver claiming sudden unintended acceleration couldn’t easily be proved wrong so it was a matter of believing that driver or an automaker claiming otherwise. Things are different today.
Our computerized cars record all sorts of data that provides insight when accidents occur. In this case, Tesla investigated and found the vehicle was not at fault.
Tesla said in astatement, “The evidence, including data from the car, conclusively shows that the crash was the result of Mr. Son pressing the accelerator pedal all the way to 100 percent.” This puts the blame squarely on the driver.
Ji Chang Son is a celebrity in South Korea and a Tesla spokesperson commented on Son’s allegations before the suit was filed. He claimed Son threatened to use his celebrity to hurt the company unless they paid up and acknowledged the accident wasn’t his fault.
Son posted pictures of the accident on his facebook page along with a description of what happened and his disappointment that Tesla wouldn’t take responsibility for the incident. Both he and his son were in the car at the time of the accident, which made him especially displeased that Tesla didn’t appreciate how much this affected their family.
Tesla maintains there’s nothing to apologize for since the data shows Son pressed the gas to 100 percent and caused the crash himself.