A California woman is suing Tesla, claiming her Model X SUV suddenly accelerated and pinned her up against a garage wall while she was pregnant, causing her to go into premature labor.
Tesla blames the woman's 2-year-old son, who was behind the wheel at the time of the incident. The mother, Mallory Harcourt of Santa Barbara, says the Model X is unsafe, faulty and that the company knows that.
The lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month in Alameda County Superior Court, states that Harcourt was eight months pregnant when the incident occurred.
Harcourt claims the incident happened last December after she and her 2-year-old returned home from getting groceries. She says she put her brand new 2019 Model X SUV in park and took her son inside to change his diaper, but he ran back out to the car and hopped into the driver's seat. Harcourt says that as she crossed in front of the Tesla to retrieve her son, the Model X — with its gull-wing doors still open — accelerated, lifting her off her feet and pinning her against a garage wall. The impact of the collision broke her leg, fractured her pelvis and forced her into premature labor.
The lawsuit alleges that the Model X has a faulty design. It claims that Tesla should have proper driver seat sensors, should have a system that prevents from accelerating with the gull-wing doors open, an extra step to engage the car's drive system and better software to prevent unintended acceleration.
Business Insider reports that Tesla sent Harcourt's attorney a letter defending itself, writing that data from the vehicle shows that the SUV "responded to the operator's inputs, as designed" and that Harcourt's son provided some of those inputs.
The data shows the brake was pressed, the driver's door closed and that the gear shift was put into drive, and that over the next six seconds, both the brake and accelerator pedals were pressed, sometimes both at the same time.