According to AP, a Tesla owner faces first charges against someone using a partially automated driving system in the US. The defendant, Kevin George Aziz Riad, was driving a Model S when he ran a red light and crashed into a Honda Civic at a California intersection in 2019. The Civic’s two passengers were killed, while Riad and his companion were damaged. impending injuries. California prosecutors filed two counts of vehicular manslaughter against Riad in October last year.
The court documents reportedly said nothing about Autopilot. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has been investigating the incident for the past several years, recently confirmed it was on duty at the time of the accident. The NHTSA formally opened an investigation into Tesla’s driver assistance system in August last year after a series of 11 accidents involving parked emergency vehicles that killed 17 people. It is also investigating other types of crashes involving Tesla vehicles, including a complaint blaming the beta version of the company’s Full Self Driving technology for a collision in California.
As AP points out, Riad is the first to be sued over a widely used driver assistance technology, but he isn’t the first person to use an automated driving system in the US. In 2020, an Uber backup driver was charged with negligent death after the company’s autonomous test vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian in Arizona. According to an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Uber’s technology detected the victim more than five seconds before the crash, but could not identify her as a pedestrian. The driver could have avoided the accident if she had paid close attention.
The NHTSA told the AP in a statement that “any vehicle requires the human driver to be in control at all times,” even if it has a partially automated system. On its Autopilot page, Tesla says Autopilot is “intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is willing to take over at any time.”
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