A California woman named Mallory Harcourt sues Tesla after claiming that her all-new 2019 Model X SUV did an unintentional acceleration (UA) and attached her to the wall of her garage. The suit was filed on May 17th.
According to the lawsuit, Harcourt was eight months pregnant at that time, and the accident sent her to work prematurely after breaking her legs. She had just returned from the grocery store, and Harcourt's two-year-old, B.H., was in the car when this happened, according to the lawsuit.
That's how it happened according to the lawsuit:
- Harcour's family bought Tesla Model X on December 23, 201[ads1]8.
- On December 27, the Harcourt left the car on return home from shopping and opened the car's fallow velvet doors to remove her groceries and bra from the back.
- She took her son in to change the diaper, but he ran back into the car in the driver's seat. The vehicle was in the park.
- As Harcourt moved in front of Model X to remove B.H. The car accelerated, hugging her against the wall with the doors still open, according to the suit.
- The success claims that the acceleration lifted Harcourt off his feet and attached her to the wall. B. H. began to cry and Harcourt called the neighbors for help. The neighbors called an ambulance and Harcourt went to the hospital where she entered premature work with her daughter.
Read more: A Tesla Model X driver claims her car crashed into a gym after she hit the brakes – but similar events point to another explanation
Accidental accelerations are not unusual in automotive industry. The lawsuit says a case in 2013 where a jury in Oklahoma made a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs who claimed that software issues with their toyota caused an accidental acceleration, killed a person and injured another.
Harcourt's suit claims that Tesla's poor model X design is wrong here. The lawsuit claims that the car does not have the proper driver's seat for motion-impaired sensors, control logic to ensure that all the doors are closed before acceleration, a simultaneous push-button on the displacement mechanism to activate the car's drive system and / or necessary control logic to prevent accidental acceleration or reversal.
To put a model X in the drive and accelerate it, a driver must hit the brake and click down the controls on the steering column to move it from park to drive. Then the driver had to move his foot from the brake to the accelerator, just like any car.
Harcourt also claims in the case that Tesla knew that model X was wrong and that the company urged its agents to say that it was a completely safe car for her and her family despite knowing that it had design flaws. The lawsuit also cites that many incidents of accidental acceleration in Tesla vehicles have been reported to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and the frequency of these complaints is even higher than Toyota.
Harcour's lawyer, Alison Gokal, sent Tesla a letter in February confirming that B.H. had placed itself between the accelerator and the driver's seat, but that "very small changes in code, design and production" could have prevented the accidental acceleration event.
Gokal told Business Insider that Tesla has so far refused to share information about the car's diagnostic log during the incident. But in response to a letter sent by Gorkal on February 21, the company described the events based on what was recorded in the log.
According to Tesla's letter, the company concluded that the data showed that the vehicle "responded to the operator's inputs, as designed," saying that some of the inputs came from Harcourt's son.
How it went down according to Tesla's letter:
- About nine seconds after someone came into the car, the brake was pressed, the driver's door closed and the shift shifted into operation.
- In the next six seconds, the brake and then the accelerator were pressed.
- "In the next 2 seconds, as the accelerator pedal continued to push from 44% to 98%, Tesla said in his statement to Harcourt's lawyer.
- Tesla continued:" … the brake pedal was pressed short, which caused the vehicle to issue a user message that caused both pedals to be pushed. At this time, the brake pushed down over the accelerator pedal so that the motor torque was controlled by the accelerator pedal inlet being appropriately suppressed. "
- In the next four seconds, the accelerator and brake were pushed, according to Tesla.
Tesla also informed Harcourt that it did not have insurance for this particular situation and said it would only buy back the car.
After a similar event in April 2018 – when a model X crashed into a gym after the driver eventually hit the brake – a Tesla spokesman said that in all cases when a driver suddenly and "unexpectedly" accelerated that the company has handled, the driver was guilty.
"Accidents involving the pedal error application", where a driver presses the accelerator pedal in error, occurs in all types of vehicles, not just Teslas, gas pedals in Tesla vehicles have two redundant sensors which clearly shows us when the pedal is physically pressed down, for example at the driver's foot, "they said.
Read the entire lawsuit below:
If you've ever experienced an accidental acceleration in a Tesla, or have been working to solve this problem at Tesla or another car company, email me at llopez @ business insider. com.