Apple Employee Dies While Playing Game and Driving a Tesla

Walter Huang, an employee for Apple and a father of two children, passed away on March 23, 2018 while on Highway 101 in California. He was involved in a collision while operating a Tesla on a stretch of the highway that connects to Highway 85. New information provided by the National Transportation Safety Board shows that Huang was using a gaming application at the time of his death, leaving investigators to believe that he likely was holding the phone in his hands instead of using his hands to steer the wheel from one area to the next.

Huang sustained multiple injuries and ultimately succumbed to them after being taken to the hospital. The accident occurred during his normal commute where he was traveling from Foster City to get to Sunnyvale to get to work. As a game developer for Apple, Huang was known for his love of all different types of games. Data from his phone shows that he was using one of the game apps downloaded to his phone at the exact time that the collision occurred. The data did not provide details on whether Huang was actually touching and using his phone at that very instant, but there is reason to believe that is likely what happened, especially since the car log data from the Tesla showed that the driver did not apply torque to the steering wheel before or during the collision.

In addition to the possibility that Huang was relying too heavily on the autopilot feature provided by Tesla, other problems did arise right before the collision. Tesla is known for its advanced technology and convenient safety features, but several of those features appeared to have malfunctioned right before the accident occurred. For example, the automatic brake system did not activate, even though the vehicle was getting close to coming in contact with the barrier that separates roadways on Highway 101.

An alert signal is supposed to go off inside the vehicle when it gets too close to coming in contact with someone or something else, but it failed to go off, too. If the alert would have gone off, it is possible that Huang could have avoided hitting that barrier and getting into such a serious collision in the first place.

And, that is the reason Huang’s family has decided to file a lawsuit against Tesla. They feel that the vehicle did not live up to its name and the way that it is advertised to the public. Many of the features that are commonly talked about Tesla failed Huang because those features did not work when he needed them the most.

His family decided to hire a personal injury attorney in an attempt to recover compensation from Tesla due to their misleading advertisements that would cause drivers to believe that the vehicle could do most of the driving for them. Even with partial automation provided, no vehicle is self-driving, and that means no driver should rely on the vehicle to do the work for them. However, if you listen to the advertisements from Tesla, you might believe that it is possible.

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The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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