The door handles on the Tesla Model S are being blamed for the death of a 48 year old man who was involved in a fiery crash earlier this year, according to Bloomberg. A police officer was unable to pull the man to safety from his burning vehicle.
Oman Awan was driving his leased Tesla in February when he lost control of the vehicle on a South Florida parkway and slammed into a palm tree. A police officer who responded to the scene was unable to open the doors to free Awan because the handles were retracted and bystanders were forced to watch “helplessly” as the car filled with smoke and flames, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed in state court in Broward County.
The doorhandles on a Model S are flush with the car and automatically pop out when the key fob is near.
The lawsuit says: “Fire engulfed the car and burned Dr. Awan beyond recognition — all because the Model S has inaccessible door handles, no other way to open the doors, and an unreasonably dangerous fire risk.”
The vehicle continued to burn for hours and reignited several times, even after firefighters had put out the initial flames and the car had been towed. Recall, at the beginning of this month, we reported that the NHTSA was finally looking into potential battery fire issues with Teslas that have led to photos like these becoming common.
The cause of death in the Awan complaint is listed as smoke inhalation. It says that no internal injuries or broken bones were suffered in the crash.
Consumer Reports had said back in 2015 that the door handles were one of the most common problems with the Model S. Recall, Consumer Reports also called Tesla’s Autopilot “far less competent than a human” back in May of this year.
We continue to wonder how many more of these futuristic “features” are going to have to kill drivers before the NHTSA wakes up and takes action.