A group of Texas police officers filed a lawsuit against Tesla after a car on autopilot plowed through a traffic stop in February. The incident occurred on February 27 when officers had pulled over a vehicle in the right-hand lane of a highway in Splendora, a suburb in Houston.
While the officers, along with a canine unit, were searching the vehicle for drugs, a Tesla Model X rammed into two police cars at 70 mph, injuring five officers and a civilian. The officers blame Tesla for the crash, claiming the Model X's autopilot feature "failed to detect the officers' cars or to function in any way to avoid or warn of the hazard and subsequent crash."
They accused Tesla of knowing about a defect in the software in which flashing lights can prevent the vehicle from recognizing pedestrians and other vehicles. However, despite knowing about the issue, the lawsuit claims that Tesla failed to fix the problem.
"Tesla's blatant refusal to adopt additional safeguards or to fix the issues with its Autopilot system demonstrate a lack of supervision and oversight of Tesla's Autopilot system. Tesla has intentionally decided not to remedy these issues and must be held liable and accountable, especially when it has detailed knowledge of the risks and dangers associated with its Autopilot system," the lawsuit states.
The officers are seeking between $1 million and $20 million in damages from the automaker.
"The officers want to hold Tesla accountable, and force Tesla to publicly acknowledge and immediately correct the known defects inherent in its Autopilot and collision avoidance systems, particularly as those impact the ongoing safety of our nation's first responders," the lawsuit says.