A Florida jury has found that Tesla was only one percent negligent in a fiery crash that killed two teenagers by disabling the speed limiter on an electric car.
Tuesday’s ruling places 90% of the blame on the driver, Barrett Riley, and 9% on his father, James Riley, who brought the lawsuit against Tesla.
Michael Brooks, the current acting director of the Center for Automotive Safety, said it was the first known case involving a Tesla crash to go to trial.
Barrett and his friend Edgar Monserrat Martinez were about to graduate from a private school in South Florida when they died in a crash in May 2018 near Fort Lauderdale Beach. One passenger in the back seat was ejected and survived.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined he was driving at 116 mph (186 km per hour) in a 30 mph (48 km per hour) zone and the cause was highly likely. of the accident “caused by the driver losing control. excessive speed. “
James claims the crash was “totally survivable” and the fire that ensued killed the teenagers, but the judge dismissed his lawsuit that Tesla designed faulty lithium ion batteries. “explodes into an uncontrollable and fatal fire” on impact.
James also said Tesla removed a speed limiter without his permission. He ordered devices to be installed to prevent his son from driving at more than 85 miles per hour (136 kilometers per hour).
An investigation found that about a month before the crash, the teen asked workers at Tesla’s Dania Beach dealership to bring the car back to normal while it was being serviced.
Tesla denies negligence in disabling the speed limiter. The company argued that the teen’s parents were negligent in allowing him to operate the vehicle “when they learned of his history of speeding and reckless driving,” according to the judge’s instructions for jury.
Brooks, at the Center for Automotive Safety, said other lawsuits are pending against Tesla related to the vehicle’s fully autonomous and autonomous driving systems.