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Can Tesla’s New Safety Score Lead to Reckless Driving?

February 1, 2022

Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C., Help Clients Recover from Accidents Caused by Reckless Drivers

Since actions such as braking too hard can lead to a poor safety grade for Tesla drivers, they may be tempted to engage in unsafe driving behaviors, according to a Consumer Reports study.

The Safety Score is a feature that Tesla included to allow owners to qualify for the latest version of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software. However, hours after Tesla released the new feature, owners were discussing on social media a variety of unsafe driving practices in which they engage to keep a good score, because the score is negatively affected by practices such as braking too hard.

This means Tesla drivers are incentivized not to hit the brakes when approaching a yellow light at an intersection or a stop sign.

Consumer Reports called Safety Score a gamification of safe driving and said that although it could be an incentive for good driving practices, it also could be misused and have the reverse effect.

The Consumer Reports research team tested the Safety Score threshold for unsafe hard braking and found that it could be exceeded by simply stopping at a stop sign in routine driving. Then, the researchers used Tesla’s driver assistance feature, Autopilot, drove to the same stop sign, and applied the brakes, which also exceeded the hard braking threshold.

The automaker reports that when Autopilot is engaged, the Safety Score is not affected.

Researchers concluded that the methods used to gauge safe driving habits will need to be changed to encourage safe behaviors, such as stopping for a pedestrian, obeying a stop sign, and other responsible actions.

Pennsylvania Auto Accident Laws

For drivers involved in an accident in Pennsylvania, it is important to understand the rules in the state, which make obtaining full compensation for damages less likely for many drivers.

Pennsylvania operates under a modified comparative fault rule; therefore, compensation for damages is available only to claimants when they are found to be less than 50 percent responsible for causing a car accident.

An important part of the modified comparative fault method for dealing with the costs of car accidents is that, for those drivers who are found to be less than 50 percent responsible for an accident, the compensation amounts are reduced by the percentage at which they are found at fault. For example, one driver is found to be 25 percent at fault for an accident, and that driver seeks $3,000 in damages from the driver found to be 75 percent at fault. The driver who is less at fault will receive damages of $3,000, reduced by 25 percent, or 3,000 – 750, which equals $2,250. It may not pay for all the damages, but it is a substantial portion.

The modified comparative fault rules not only are applied to courtrooms for Pennsylvania car accidents, but also will guide the decisions of the insurance claims adjuster.

Pennsylvania is also a choice no-fault insurance state. That means that some drivers opt for no-fault insurance coverage, which circumvents the problem of receiving compensation for damages for those who have any fault in an accident. However, in most accidents, the driver with no-fault insurance would turn to their own policy’s personal injury protection for that compensation, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

In certain circumstances, such as serious personal injury, the driver seeking damages can go outside of their own no-fault coverage and claim damages from the driver found at fault.

There is a two-year time limit for filing suit for drivers who decide to do so in Pennsylvania. It is important to know when the clock starts ticking for that two-year time limit. If injuries from a car accident result in the death of one of the parties involved, the time limit for the suit is from the date of that person’s death, which might not be at the time of the accident.

Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C., Help Clients Recover from Accidents Caused by Reckless Drivers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by the reckless actions of another driver, contact the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C.  Our legal team is experienced in Pennsylvania law. They will investigate the cause of the accident and develop a strong case to help you receive the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 215-569-9100 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.