Tesla Faces Second Autopilot Fatality Lawsuit

Tesla Inc. has been sued for the second time in three months by families of drivers killed in crashes while using the company’s Autopilot semi-self-driving feature.

The most recent lawsuit was filed in Palm Beach County, Fla., by the family of Jeremy Banner. He died in March when his Tesla Model 3 sedan, operating in Autopilot mode, failed to react after a tractor-trailer ran a stop sign. He had engaged the system 10 seconds before the crash, according to the complaint.

Some aspects of the Banner crash are similar to those in another Florida crash in 2016, in which Tesla Model S driver Joshua Brown was killed. His car’s Autopilot system failed to apply the brakes when a tractor-trailer rig crossed his path.

Federal investigators say Brown’s car was in Autopilot mode for 37 minutes, during which he had his hand on the steering wheel for 25 seconds.

Tesla’s Autopilot system can steer, accelerate and brake a car automatically under certain highway conditions. But the company says the driver must monitor the system constantly by grasping the steering wheel every few seconds, and be ready to immediately resume full control at any time.

The Banner complaint follows a lawsuit filed in California in May by the family of Walter Huang. He died when his Tesla Model X crashed into a highway median divider while operating in Autopilot mode.