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Fatal Self-Driving Tesla Car Accident

Self-driving cars are the future of automobiles, but that future may be much further away than researchers and engineers were originally anticipating. In late June 2016, a fatal car accident in Florida was allegedly caused by a self-driving Tesla, casting a shadow of doubt over the functionality and safety of the current technology.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), who is working closely with Tesla, the Model S electric sedan was confirmed to be in self-driving mode when the fatal car accident occurred. It is believed that a white tractor trailer made a left in front of the Tesla and that the vehicle’s autonomous cameras were unable to distinguish the bright colors of the trailer from the sky, which would have been a similar tint at that time of day. The vehicle drove straight under the truck, killing the driver; the vehicle then ran itself off the road, plowed through two fences on an adjacent property, and bounced off a power pole before coming to a stop.

When Will Self-Driving Be Safe?

Tesla has defended its technology in a roundabout way in light of the news of the fatal traffic collision. Company representatives have stated that it would appear that the driver also did not notice the bright white tractor trailer, alluding to the notion that the accident was not necessarily caused by faulty camera. Tesla has also stated, without putting direct blame on the driver, that self-driving modes still require the driver’s full attention to take over at a moment’s notice to prevent collisions.

Even with their reassurances, people are more skeptical now than ever. The NHTSA, for example, is currently drafting a new set of rules companies and individuals must follow when they want to test self-driven automobiles on public roads. Tesla had ambitious plans to make self-driving cars the affordable norm in as little as ten years, but experts from various industries are now hesitant to believe this technology will be readily available in even twice as long.

For more information about this story, The New York Times published an online article earlier in the month, which can be viewed by clicking here. If you need help with a car accident case, whether caused by a self-driving car or not, Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP and our New York City personal injury attorneys can help you. We are available 24/7 and offer to work on contingency fees – you don’t pay us unless we win you a verdict or settlement – so don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Categories: Car Accidents, In the News