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Does autopilot reduce the number of car crashes in the U.S.?

The future of automobile evolution is here in Orange County. For example, Tesla vehicles are now equipped with autopilot features. However, do such features really reduce the number of car accidents that would have been caused by human error?

What are the statistics on accidents involving autopilot?

According to Tesla’s Vehicle Safety Report, the fourth quarter of 2019 saw one motor vehicle crash for every 3.07 million miles driven in autopilot. Car crashes involving those who used other safety features in Tesla, but did not use autopilot, saw one collision for every 2.10 million miles driven. Finally, car crashes involving Teslas in which the driver was neither using autopilot nor other safety features saw one collision for every 1.64 million miles driven. To put things in perspective, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there is one car accident for every 479,000 miles driven in the U.S.

Are Teslas really safer than other vehicles?

While the aforementioned statistics may make it seem like Teslas are safer than other automobiles, it is important to understand how the NHTSA and Tesla define “crashes” and “accidents.” The NHTSA defines “crashes” as accidents reported to the police. Tesla, on the other hand, refers to collisions as “accidents” but does not provide a specific definition of what constitutes an “accident” versus a “crash.” For this reason, it is difficult to truly compare NHTSA data to Tesla’s reported data.

Autopilot may not stop all accidents from occurring

Ultimately, while autopilot has some redeeming qualities, vehicles with this feature on can still be involved in car accidents. When this happens, interesting questions regarding the liability of the automaker and occupants of the vehicle may arise. This is a relatively new quandary. In the end, if you are struck by a vehicle that is on autopilot, you may want to seek the advice of a seasoned attorney committed to handling cases on an individual basis.