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In August of 2021, a Florida Highway Patrol officer pulled over to assist a disabled vehicle on Interstate 4 near downtown Orlando. A Tesla slammed into the patrol cruiser and then into the disabled car. Fortunately, the car accident resulted in minor injuries.

The 27-year-old man driving the Tesla was using the vehicle’s partially automated driving system at the time of the accident.

The crash isn’t an isolated incident:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating a 2021 collision in Coral Gables that killed two people and involved a Tesla Model 3.
  • Autopilot (adaptive cruise control system and autosteer) was partly at fault for a fatal 2019 crash in Delray Beach, killing the 50-year-old driver of a Tesla Model 3.
  • An Ohio man was killed in Williston, FL in May 2016 when his Tesla failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and did not automatically apply brakes as designed.

These and similar crashes have prompted the U.S. government to open a formal investigation into Tesla’s autopilot driving system.

Automakers Required to Report Crashes

In addition to the Tesla investigation, the NHTSA issued a general standing order in June 2021 requiring manufacturers to report any crashes involving automated driving systems or SAE Level 2 driver assistance. SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers, which classifies six levels of driving automation. The first report, covering 10 months, was released in June 2022.

Nationwide, there were almost 400 crashes that involved cars using advanced driver-assistance technologies, the federal government’s top auto-safety regulator disclosed Wednesday. Six people died and five were seriously injured in these wrecks.

Florida Has Second-Most Driver Assistance Accidents

Florida has had 34 crashes involving Level 2 driver assistance systems during the initial reporting period, June 29, 2021, through May 15, 2022. The Sunshine State had more crashes than any other state, with the exception of California. Texas followed Florida. When reviewing crashes involving automated driving systems, Florida ranks third with 7 crashes, behind Arizona with 12. Taking the top spot is California, where many of these systems are tested on public roads.

Tesla Has the Most Cars & the Most Wrecks

Tesla was by far the manufacturer with the most accidents. That is not surprising considering the automaker has about 830,000 cars in the U.S. equipped with autopilot or other driver-assistance technologies.

Here are the number of SAE Level 2 crashes by manufacturer:

  • Tesla: 273
  • Honda: 90
  • Subaru: 10
  • Ford Motor Company: 5
  • Toyota: 4
  • BMW of North America: 3
  • General Motors: 2
  • APTIV, Hyundai, Lucid, Porche, & Volkwagen: 1

Waymo, Transdev, and Cruise reported the most crashes with automated driving systems. 

All Florida Vehicle Crashes Claimed 3,751 Lives

More than 400,000 vehicle crashes occurred in Florida in 2021. The crashes killed 3,751 people and resulted in more than 252,000 injuries.

Preliminary statistics for 2021 show vehicle accidents sometimes involved more than other vehicles:

  • Bicycle Crashes: 6,399 (183 fatalities)
  • Motorcycle Crashes: 8,363 (592 fatalities)
  • Pedestrian Crashes: 9,552 (847 fatalities)

Personal Injury Claims for Car Accidents

If you are injured in a crash that isn’t your fault, you have rights under Florida law. Whether you are rear-ended by a distracted driver or your car’s systems fail you, you might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Loved ones of someone killed might also have grounds for a wrongful death claim.

At Mitchell & West LLC, we have the experience and knowledge to go head-to-head with insurers who will do their best to minimize any payout. And if we need to take your claim to a jury in court, you can know that we will skillfully argue your case.

Find out if you have a personal injury case. Schedule a consultation with us. Reach out online or call (305) 783-3301. We proudly serve Miami and the surrounding areas.