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Tesla Cybertruck Accidents Raise Safety Questions


A number of recent accident reports around the country involving Tesla Cybertrucks, including one here in Southern California, raise questions about the vehicle’s safety.

Following the recent release of the show-stopping Tesla Cybertruck, some safety experts have raised concerns about the vehicle. Most notably, they fear that the vehicle’s shape and lack of “crumple zones” could put drivers, passengers, and other road users at risk in the event of an accident. Concerns have also been raised about the truck’s sightlines.

These concerns have been highlighted following a spate of accidents involving Tesla Cybertrucks.

Recent Accidents Involving the Tesla Cybertruck

Most recently, this futuristic vehicle, which is Tesla’s electric version of a pickup truck, was involved in a crash in Tampa with a Nissan Sentra. One of the vehicles reportedly ran a red light. The end result saw the Nissan T-bone the Cybertruck. While both vehicles had to be towed, the Nissan was reportedly more damaged. The entire front of the car was deformed by the collision, while pieces of the front bumper and hood could be seen on the street. The Cybertruck, however, had only sustained minor damage on the passenger side.

Two more Tesla Cybertrucks have been involved in crashes these past few months. The first one was hit by a Toyota Corolla in December. Also, last month, another Cybertruck slammed into the signage of the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. The driver in that case reportedly failed to press the brake and pressed the accelerator instead. No injuries were reported in that collision.

Little Safety Data Available

The Verge recently published an article specifically on whether or not the Cybertruck is ready for the road and the safety risks it poses to other road users, including drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. It reports that safety experts are already raising concerns about the truck’s crumple zones or lack thereof, calling it names like “guideless missile” and “death machine.” TikTok and other social platforms are filled with videos highlighting the vehicle’s poor sight lines and lack of visibility for drivers and passengers.

There is little data available about the Tesla Cybertruck because they are so new and there are so few of them on our roadways. It is not clear when there will be more information available because neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), two independent agencies that test new vehicles, have any plans to do crash safety tests with the Cybertruck.

But the data we have on all pickup trucks point to the fact that the Cybertrucks, like other large pickup trucks, can be dangerous. Like other trucks in its category, the Tesla Cybertruck is heavy, high-riding, quick, and is likely to deal a serious or fatal blow to anyone who is unfortunate enough to cross its path.

Cybertruck Safety Issues

In a recent study, the IIHS noted that pickup trucks and SUVs with tall flat fronts and high hoods are more dangerous for pedestrians compared to compact vehicles. Tall front ends increase this danger. For medium-height vehicles, blunt-shaped front ends increase the risk while a higher point of impact can prove dangerous for bicyclists. However, these characteristics are not unique to Cybertrucks. Pickup trucks manufactured by Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Ram, and other automakers also have the potential to be deadly to pedestrians. EV trucks, in particular, are even deadlier because of the added weight of their batteries.

While NHTSA and IIHS have yet to weigh in on these trucks, Tesla has conducted its own crash tests in-house. In the U.S., car companies “self-certify” that their vehicles comply with federal safety standards that require airbags and automatic emergency braking. There is no pre-approval before an automaker is allowed to sell its cars to the public, which means Tesla can sell cars with driver assist systems that safety experts say put drivers and pedestrians in danger.

The company is also free to sell a truck made with stainless steel and no rounded edges. According to NHTSA’s website, the Tesla Cybertruck meets performance criteria for standards such as lane departure warnings and dynamic brake support. Yet, there is no safety rating, and the Cybertruck is not even mentioned on NHTSA’s list of vehicles to be tested for its five-star rating in 2024.

One of the major issues safety experts cite with the Cybertruck is its lack of a crumple zone, the area of a vehicle that is designed to crush on impact. Often, this zone is located in the front of the vehicle where it absorbs some of the crash impact protecting the vehicle’s occupants. By absorbing the energy generated during a collision, crumple zones help prevent or reduce injuries. A stiffer vehicle made with stainless steel could complicate this process and heighten the risk of serious injuries.

Specific Design Concerns

There are design choices that make the Cybertruck problematic, including its sloped hood that creates dangerous blind spots. While Tesla did add cameras to compensate for these blind spots, it remains unclear what the driver will or will not be able to see. The steering is not mechanical, but digital and side view mirrors can be removed. The truck has no rearview mirror at all. This is disturbing considering the only way to see what’s on the side or behind is via the center console screen which also contains the instrument panel, GPS mapping, Bluetooth controls, and radio. The vehicle’s exterior is bullet-proof steel with hardened Gorilla glass windows.

It is interesting to note that the Cybertruck cannot be sold in Europe, where the bar for pedestrian safety is much higher and where the rigid stainless steel exterior will pose a problem. But no such issue exists here in the United States because the system here for evaluating vehicle safety only considers vehicle occupants and not other users of the road.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Tesla Cybertruck accident, you may be able to receive compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, permanent injuries, and pain and suffering. You should contact an experienced car accident attorney at Bisnar Chase to find out more about your options through a free consultation.

If defective manufacturing or design of a vehicle caused your injuries or loss, the automaker can be held liable for your damages. An experienced California auto defect attorney will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.

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