In March last year, a German driver crashed his Tesla Model 3 while adjusting the car’s wipers via the central touchscreen. A few months after leaving the road and in a row of trees, they were sentenced to trial and a fine of € 200 resulting in a one month suspension of their license. They have since been engaged in a legal battle and a judge recently upheld the decision to suspend the driver’s license due to improper use of an electronic device.According to the German point of sale Car engine and sport
, the Higher Regional Court in Karlsruhe had ruled that Tesla’s touchscreen infotainment system counted as an electronic device. The driver, they claim, crashed because he was distracted. According to the translated German version of the story, the basis for their decision was stated as follows: “The touchscreen (permanently installed in the vehicle of the Tesla brand) is an electronic device within the meaning of § 23 Para, little does not matter what goal the driver pursues with the operation. ”
The Tesla driver said that because the touchscreen also displays a speedometer, it should be considered a “safety control panel”. The judges fired back, saying this couldn’t be factored in as it took more than just a glance to navigate through multiple options once you selected the wiper icon. The district court added that the accident was preventable because the driver “could have foreseen and prevented material damage if the necessary precautions had been taken in road traffic”.
Anyone who has driven or driven a Tesla knows that the center touchscreen handles most of the interior controls. This is how Tesla designed it, so you could argue that the judges ignored that. On the other hand, how long did the driver stare at the screen before crashing? Especially when you realize that the Tesla Model 3 has an analog wiper switch located on the wheel like most vehicles as shown in the video below.