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Fatal crash sparks concerns about Tesla's semi-autonomous cars

Some tech-minded car buyers in Georgia have a tendency to pay more attention to vehicles that offer the latest features. However, Tesla's high-tech vehicles have sparked some concerns because of a fatal crash and multiple battery fires. There is some debate as to whether or not these results say something about the future of high-tech vehicles.

What is known is that one of Tesla's all-electric models was involved in a fatal crash. The vehicle, which was equipped with semi-autonomous driver-assist technology referred to as "autopilot," crashed when it left the road for unknown reasons and crashed into a median and trees before bursting into flames and killing the driver. This is the second fiery and fatal crash involving a Tesla vehicle in less than a year in Florida.

When the vehicle's battery was tested, it burst into flames three times. Tesla's newer vehicles have a large lithium-ion battery system that heats up when a crash occurs, according to an auto safety expert. However, this doesn't automatically make Tesla's high-tech vehicles more dangerous than similar models. In response, the company says that many factors need to be considered before reaching a conclusion. An emergency guide on Tesla's website makes reference to the potential for post-crash battery fires. Furthermore, the Center for Auto Safety has concerns about how Tesla refers to its vehicles' "self-driving capabilities." For example, the name "autopilot" may encourage drivers to be less attentive.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet opted to investigate this crash. However, an attorney may still pursue a products liability case if dealing with a similar incident involving a severely or fatally injured driver. Such cases usually focus on what the manufacturer knew about the safety of its vehicles and whether or not they were negligent by not disclosing this information.

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