Friday, March 1, 2024

Driver in Fatal Tesla Autopilot Crash Charged With Felony Manslaughter in US First

The driver-assist system was enabled when the Tesla struck another vehicle and killed two people in 2019.

California prosecutors have accused the driver of a Tesla Model S who was using the company’s driver-assist system, Autopilot, when the car descended an off-ramp, ran a red light, collided with a passing vehicle, and killed two people in 2019.

According to The Washington Post, the Tesla driver is the first in the United States to be charged with a crime for causing a deadly crash while driving semi-autonomously. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration verified to WaPo that Autopilot was in use at the time of the crash, despite court filings not directly mentioning it. The accused has entered a not guilty plea to the accusations.

On Dec. 29, 2019, in Gardena, California, the two passengers in the struck Honda Civic were pronounced deceased at the scene. Both the Model S driver and Tesla are being sued by their families. We’ve reached out to Tesla for further information on the situation, and we’ll keep you updated if we hear back.

Of course, Autopilot isn’t a fully automated system. As a result, a motorist who employs it is still legally liable for the vehicle. These allegations come as the company’s driver-assist system, which is currently based in Texas, comes under increasing investigation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an inquiry into crashes employing Autopilot. A number of Teslas have collided with parked emergency vehicles, prompting the firm to release a software update. Nonetheless, there are an increasing number of deadly Tesla auto collisions in which Autopilot may have had a role.

While this isn’t the first fatalcollision that has occurred when a driver was using Autopilot, the penalty an automaker might face for allowing systems such as these to be potentially abused is still unclear.

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