Ji Chang Son took delivery of a new Tesla Model X in August of last year. About a month later, as Mr. Son was turning into his driveway at his home in Orange County, California, he says the car suddenly leaped forward at a high rate of speed, crashed through the back wall of his garage, and ended up in his living room. On December 30, attorneys representing Mr. Son filed a class action lawsuit in federal court in California. To qualify for class action status under federal law, the complaint must state that total damages for all the members of the class must exceed $5 million.
“The vehicle spontaneously began to accelerate at full power, jerking forward and crashing through the interior wall of the garage, destroying several wooden support beams in the wall and a steel sewer pipe, among other things, and coming to rest in Plaintiffs’ living room,” the lawsuit said according to Reuters. Tesla says it has examined the data from the car’s computer and determined the accelerator pedal was fully depressed at the time of the incident. A Tesla Model X is capable of accelerating to 60 mph in about 3 seconds, so things happen pretty fast when the unexpected happens.
Son’s attorneys claim the car’s Automatic Emergency Braking systems should prevent it from crashing into solid objects even if the driver accidentally presses the wrong pedal. But they deny their client did so in this instance. The bizarre part of the legal filing is a chart created by the plaintiff’s legal team claiming to show sudden unintended acceleration occurs at the rate of 64 times per 100,000 vehicles on the road — about 20 times more frequently than in other vehicles. That figure is highly speculative since there were only about 16,000 Model X vehicles on the road at the time of this incident.
If you follow the “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” theory, there have been 8 official reports of sudden unintended acceleration by a Tesla Model X filed by owners with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and some of them are eerily similar to Mr. Son’s experience — the car racing ahead and crashing while travelling at very low speeds. In fact, Tesla acknowledges that the Automatic Emergency Braking system will not function below 8 miles per hour and will disable itself if it thinks the driver is attempting to perform an emergency maneuver.
Tesla says the accelerator was fully depressed, but the car is capable of accelerating on its own under some circumstances. Does the computer know the difference between when a human foot is depressing the pedal and when the computer itself is instructing the car to accelerate? Perhaps by the time this litigation is concluded, we will know more on that subject.
Now that suit has been filed, the plaintiff’s attorneys can request Tesla to turn over any reports of sudden unintended acceleration known to it that are not yet matters of public record. Expect Tesla to vigorously defend against this legal action. And don’t hold your breath. Litigation like this often takes years to reach a conclusion. The wheels of justice turn very, very slowly.
Source: Teslarati The photo shown is contained in the legal filings made by Mr. Son’s attorneys.