In March last year, a German driver crashed a Tesla Model 3 while adjusting the car’s wipers through a centrally installed touch screen. A few months after leaving the road to enter a row of trees, they were sued and fined 200 euros, and their one-month driving license was revoked. They have been entangled in legal disputes since then, and recently, the judge supported the decision to suspend the driving license due to improper use of electronic devices.
According to German exports Car engine and sports, The High District Court in Karlsruhe has ruled that Tesla’s touch screen infotainment system is considered an electronic device. They argued that the driver crashed because of distraction. According to the German translation of the story, their decision was based on: “The touch screen (permanently installed in the Tesla brand vehicle) is an electronic device in the sense of paragraph 23, no matter what the driver is pursuing the purpose of operation.”
The Tesla driver said that since the touch screen also displays a speedometer, it should be regarded as a “safety control panel.” The judge shot back, saying that this could not be considered, because once the wiper icon is selected, navigating multiple options requires more than a simple gaze. The district court added that the crash was avoidable because the driver “can foresee and prevent property damage if he takes the necessary care in road traffic.”
Anyone who has driven or ridden a Tesla knows that the centrally installed touch screen can manage a large number of internal controls. Tesla was designed this way, so one could say that the judges did not take this into consideration. On the other hand, how long did the driver look down at the screen before crashing? Especially when you realize that the Tesla Model 3 is equipped with analog wiper switches on the wheels like most vehicles, as shown in the following video.