Family of Teenager Killed in 116-MPH Tesla Crash Sues Company

Megalith

24-bit/48kHz
Staff member
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Messages
13,004
The parents of one of the victims in the high-speed crash that killed two teenagers in a Model S last May are now suing Tesla, claiming the fatality was caused by a defective battery pack that caught on fire. They also say the driver managed to get a speed limiter on the vehicle removed, which the service center shouldn’t have agreed to. (Story shared by Eshelmen.)

"Our thoughts continue to be with the families affected by this tragedy. Unfortunately, no car could have withstood a high-speed crash of this kind. Tesla’s Speed Limit Mode, which allows Tesla owners to limit their car’s speed and acceleration, was introduced as an over-the-air update last year in dedication to our customer’s son, Barrett Riley, who tragically passed away in the accident."
 
Last edited:

Dekoth-E-

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
7,599
I'm pretty sure that Crashing at 116 MPH had more to do with the kids death than the battery catching on fire..Crash just about any consumer car at that speed and check the survival rates..here is a hint..they aren't good. How is any of this Tesla's fault? Fuck these people.
 

Brokennails

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 29, 2006
Messages
2,001
I don't blame the parents at all. They are grieving and hurt.

That said, I blame the media for disproportionately showing Tesla car fires to the hundreds of gasoline powered cars that catch fire, and the lawyers feeding them bullshit to get a payday.
 

Lith1um

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 3, 2004
Messages
2,829
I'm pretty sure that Crashing at 116 MPH had more to do with the kids death than the battery catching on fire..Crash just about any consumer car at that speed and check the survival rates..here is a hint..they aren't good. How is any of this Tesla's fault? Fuck these people.
I suck at math and I realize that G's are a unit of acceleration, but G's are also used unofficially as a simplified manner of expressing deceleration in terms that a novice can grasp. I'm guessing that the impact was somewhere in the range of -100 G's. Then again, you'd have to know how long the vehicle took to decelerate after the impact. /Which you could calculate by measuring the distance the car traveled after the impact and the speed at impact.
 

nightanole

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Messages
2,013
In the mean time, pretty sure if 2 mommies in their SUV's crossed the center line, each going 25-30mph, and got in a head on, all would be ded...
 

CombatChrisNC

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
1,140
Like one of the articles says, ~500 ICE fires a day. ~100 people killed a day in just the US. But because it's Tesla it makes the news.

It sucks to lose a kid - more than I know I can imagine. It was the kid's lead foot which caused this. NHTSA is right in their ratings. A wreck like this killed 2 of 3 people. In most cars it would likely have been a clean sweep.
 

Galvin

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
2,697
Ok so the fire killed them after the accident. Not the cause of the accident. Still a winnable case
 

Extra-Titanian

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Messages
1,584
116 in a 35!? Smells like it's the fault of the kid, and at that speed a gas tank could easily bust open and catch on fire. Please say this was the parents' only child because clearly the stupidity didn't fall far from the tree.
I think the crux of that portion of the case is that even after the car was towed, it apparently kept catching on fire in the salvage yard. Which isn't a design flaw on Tesla's part, it's a property of Lithium and one of the largest overlooked problems of putting hundreds of pounds of it on wheels and sending them off into the world to play bumper cars.
 

DukenukemX

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 30, 2005
Messages
4,736
I think the crux of that portion of the case is that even after the car was towed, it apparently kept catching on fire in the salvage yard. Which isn't a design flaw on Tesla's part, it's a property of Lithium and one of the largest overlooked problems of putting hundreds of pounds of it on wheels and sending them off into the world to play bumper cars.
It's the same problem with gasoline. Turns out gasoline and lithium are volatile, and going 116mph is a great catalyst. Parents can sue all they want but at those speeds you'll lose your license for a reason.
 

DukenukemX

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 30, 2005
Messages
4,736
A real sports car would have real shit brakes in street use.
Does it really matter? At 116mph the tires are more important than the brakes, as the brakes will likely lock up. Brakes are important when you're driving in a situation when you use them often, not when you hit the pedal hard and prey to your God. Even still you can easily upgrade your brakes but the teenager took it upon himself to remove the speed limiter instead.


 

Extra-Titanian

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Messages
1,584
It's the same problem with gasoline. Turns out gasoline and lithium are volatile, and going 116mph is a great catalyst. Parents can sue all they want but at those speeds you'll lose your license for a reason.
:rolleyes: Yea, but gasoline atleast needs an ignition source that isn't contact with air. This thing literally burst into flames again while it was sitting in a salvage yard, after it got towed.
 

oldmanbal

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 27, 2010
Messages
2,183
It's unfortunate that one persons actions resulted in the death of anothers, but obviously the family members are just greedy pieces of shit.
 

DukenukemX

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 30, 2005
Messages
4,736
:rolleyes: Yea, but gasoline atleast needs an ignition source that isn't contact with air. This thing literally burst into flames again while it was sitting in a salvage yard, after it got towed.
If you're going 116 mph I think I found your ignition source. Even still if the car is hot in any way it can still ignite the fuel, cause fuel vapor doesn't need much to pre-ignite. Fuel also needs to be atomized as well and somehow vehicles still explode. Most cars are designed for low speed accidents not 116 mph. In a Corvette with a fiber glass body, you don't really have much for a crumple zone.

 

Extra-Titanian

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Messages
1,584
If you're going 116 mph I think I found your ignition source. Even still if the car is hot in any way it can still ignite the fuel, cause fuel vapor doesn't need much to pre-ignite. Fuel also needs to be atomized as well and somehow vehicles still explode. Most cars are designed for low speed accidents not 116 mph. In a Corvette with a fiber glass body, you don't really have much for a crumple zone.

Yes. If you hit something going 116 miles per hour, things will likely burn. But if the fire department shows up and puts out the fire, a gasoline vehicle is not likely to spontaneously reignite hours later sitting in a lot somewhere like this car did.
 

DocNo

Gawd
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
654
Yes. If you hit something going 116 miles per hour, things will likely burn. But if the fire department shows up and puts out the fire, a gasoline vehicle is not likely to spontaneously reignite hours later sitting in a lot somewhere like this car did.
But what does that have to do with the issue at hand - the lawsuit? Their kids were already dead. Lithium batteries react differently than gasoline, so they just need different handling procedures after an accident. It still had nothing to do with their kids being extremely reckless and stupid.

Garages used to be detached from houses because early cars caught on fire all the time. New tech, takes time to adapt to new tech.

I wonder how pressurized hydrogen fuel cells react to 116 MPH crashes into walls :eek:

Turns out storing enough energy to safely travel 250-300 miles is a pretty tough nut to crack.
 

Oldmodder

Gawd
Joined
Aug 24, 2018
Messages
706
/me humming that old queen number :p

And another one, and another one, another one bites the dust.
 

Extra-Titanian

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Messages
1,584
But what does that have to do with the issue at hand - the lawsuit? Their kids were already dead. Lithium batteries react differently than gasoline, so they just need different handling procedures after an accident. It still had nothing to do with their kids being extremely reckless and stupid.

Garages used to be detached from houses because early cars caught on fire all the time. New tech, takes time to adapt to new tech.

I wonder how pressurized hydrogen fuel cells react to 116 MPH crashes into walls :eek:

Turns out storing enough energy to safely travel 250-300 miles is a pretty tough nut to crack.
It's part of the argument that the batteries provided from Tesla are "defective". They're not. They're just more dangerous than advocates are willing to acknowledge.

It's not simply a matter of lacking adequate advances in vibration proof connectors, properly rated hose or heat/abrasion resistant insulation, it's the result of using massive quantities of inherently unstable materials to make a battery that needs to be fully removed/inspected after impact to make sure there's no chance of it spontaneously combusting down the line.

I personally hope this gets dismissed with prejudice and the plaintiffs get laughed out of the courtroom. And have to pay to repair the wall that got hit.
 

Zarathustra[H]

I Complain about Everything
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
30,010
Got it. Inexperienced teenager drives irresponsibly. Let's sue the carmaker!

Some people just like to blame others.

It should be no surprise that people die in 100+mph crashes. This is not the fault of the battery.
 

Zarathustra[H]

I Complain about Everything
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
30,010
A real sports car would have real shit brakes in street use.
Does it really matter? At 116mph the tires are more important than the brakes, as the brakes will likely lock up. Brakes are important when you're driving in a situation when you use them often, not when you hit the pedal hard and prey to your God. Even still you can easily upgrade your brakes but the teenager took it upon himself to remove the speed limiter instead.


On an electric vehicle like a Tesla you don't need large brakes.

Most of the braking is done by running the motors backwards as generators. The traditional disc brakes are there for little more than show and as a backup if something electric fails. They don't get used much at all. I'm surprised they don't rust more from disuse.
 

Zarathustra[H]

I Complain about Everything
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
30,010
The truth is, no teenager - no matter how wealthy they or their parents are - should ever be in the position to drive a fancy car,

There are way too many temptations.

A teenager should have a car that not only looks slow and boring, but also is. Basic transportation. No matter how many air bags you throw at it to make it safer, a teenager does not need the temptation of a fast car.

For the longest time my recommendation for new drivers was to get them a early 90's Volvo 240DL Wagon (no turbo). 0-60 in like 16 seconds, and looks that would put a grandmother to sleep:

590a6217103ab_IMG_8819-940x638.jpg


Unfortunately they have all started rusting to shit now (they are almost 30 years old now...) so we'll have to find something else equally slow, boring and robust.

Any suggestions?

If a teenager likes their car and want to show it off to their friends, you have failed as a parent.
 

Crosshairs

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Messages
24,213
The truth is, no teenager - no matter how wealthy they or their parents are - should ever be in the position to drive a fancy car,
My work buddies 18 year old daughter has a Hellcat...Im not sure how he thinks thats a good idea, but it's his kid.

On an electric vehicle like a Tesla you don't need large brakes.

Most of the braking is done by running the motors backwards as generators. The traditional disc brakes are there for little more than show and as a backup if something electric fails. They don't get used much at all. I'm surprised they don't rust more from disuse.
not really...regen braking is done with the motors by drag they produce when not being powered ..they turn into generators ..but the base brakes are very important and are what is used to stop the car
 
Last edited:

Zarathustra[H]

I Complain about Everything
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
30,010
My work buddies 18 year old daughter has a Hellcat...Im not sure how he thinks thats a good idea, but it's his kid.

Jeez. That seems like asking for trouble.

IMHO there are three rules to getting a teenager a car. It has to be:
- Big
- Slow
- Ugly

If it isn't all three, you have to veto it. Even if they are buying it with their own money, if it doesn't meet the above three, you've got to put on your big boy pants, and put your foot down and say NO, not while you live in my house!
 

piscian18

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Messages
11,021
I think the speed limiters a no go. Thats just a feature the car has but its not a baby sitter and the parents won't be able to hold Tesla accountable for it unless there was some explicit contract around it, I'd imagine. The faulty battery pack, if proven, idk might be able to get them some money. I'm not judging anybody for what they do for their kids, I didn't have a car until I was twenty-two. Had to buy it and take care of it myself. I've done some insanely stupid shit in cars in my life but I like to think part of the reason I'm still alive is that I had a healthy adult introduction to cars.

My best friend had to rebuild his dads old Dodge aires. That was his first car and his kids will have cars when they can buy with their own money. No loans no co-sign nothing. I think part of it is a matter of respect, not for parents but for the vitality of the car. It was always in the back of my mind if I wreck my car I cant get to work and I'll lose my job and then I'll be homeless.
 
Last edited:
Top