Utah Driver Sues Tesla After Crashing in Autopilot Mode

A Tesla spokesperson stressed that the final police report said Heather Lommatzsch told police she was looking at her phone before the crash

A Utah driver who slammed her Tesla into a stopped firetruck at a red light earlier this year while using the vehicle's semi-autonomous function has sued the company, saying salespeople told her the car would stop on its own in Autopilot mode if something was in its path, NBC News reported.

Heather Lommatzsch claimed in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that Tesla salespeople told her in 2016 when she purchased the Model S that she could just touch the steering wheel occasionally while using the Autopilot mode. Lommatzsch, 29, said she tried to brake when she saw the stopped cars, but that the car's brakes did not work before the May 11 crash.

But Tesla spokesman Dave Arnold said in a statement the company has been clear "Autopilot doesn't make the car impervious to all accidents" and that drivers are "continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times," Arnold said.

Arnold stressed that the final police report said Lommatzsch told police she was looking at her phone before the crash and that car data showed Lommatzsch did not touch the steering wheel for 80 seconds before the crash. Data taken from her car showed it picked up speed for 3.5 seconds before crashing into the firetruck and that the driver then manually hit the brakes a fraction of a second before the impact.

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