On December 11, 2021, a taxi driver from Paris was driving his family home from a restaurant after dinner when something terrible happened. The Tesla Model 3 collided with 21 people, as well as a glass recycling bin, rental bikes, and metal posts. The driver told police that his EV suddenly accelerated. He is now suing Tesla for what happened.
Sarah Saldmann is the attorney for the unidentified taxi driver. She filed a lawsuit against Tesla at the Versailles court on Friday, claiming that the American EV maker had “endangered the lives of others.” That is, the taxi driver is blaming the company for what occurred.
Jérôme Coumet tweeted at the time that the crash was caused by a “technical failure.” According to the mayor of the 13e arrondissement, where the incident occurred, “the accelerator (pedal) would have stuck.” The taxi driver claimed that his vehicle had accelerated on its own. Blood tests show that he did not have any alcohol in his system.
Regardless, he’s being investigated for manslaughter. One person died, three were seriously injured, and 17 were injured as a result of the crash involving his Model 3. Three months after the incident, we still don’t know how the affected people are doing.
We attempted to contact Saldmann as soon as the crash was reported. We questioned her about the accident’s circumstances and what her client had said. It was significant because it could provide us with some clues as to what was causing the problem.
SUA (sudden unintended acceleration) incidents would be impossible to achieve with Tesla vehicles. According to Tesla Hacker, Jason Hughes, the company created software safeguards to ensure this. We don’t know if they rely on sensors or other components to function. We recently discovered that Tesla had removed an electronic control unit from its Chinese-made vehicles. Such a strategy could jeopardize public safety.
Another possibility is that the TACC (traffic-aware cruise control) was turned on by mistake. The car accelerates if the previously set speed is significantly higher than the one used by the EV when the system is activated. That makes it look like an episode of SUA. Tesla was forced by the Chinese government to include a sound warning whenever TACC is activated.
The taxi driver and his attorney intend to sue Tesla for two reasons: to absolve him of responsibility and to place the EV manufacturer in the defendant’s chair as the part that is truly to blame. Reuters attempted to learn which pieces of evidence Saldmann obtained to support her lawsuit, but the lawyer refused to reveal anything.
The findings of the official investigation have yet to be made public. With the lawsuit, we wouldn’t be surprised if they were revealed only when the judgment was issued. In order for that to happen, Versailles prosecutors must decide whether the lawsuit contains enough elements to require Tesla to defend itself in court.