NHTSA Rejects Tesla Recall After Fatal Crash Last Year

Highway safety watchdogs have concluded a defect in a self-driving car was not to blame for a death last year when a self-driving car collided with a tractor-trailer.

Last year, a Tesla Model S crashed in Florida killing driver Joshua Brown . The car collided with a tractor-trailer. Following a lengthy investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said a defect was not to blame.

NHTSA ruled out a problem with either the Autopilot or the autonomous emergency braking. No safety recall will be required of Tesla cars.

Tesala crashed in Florida killing the driver

Autopilot describes the semi-autonomous driving aids that can help drivers. They can stop a car but are not meant to replace a driver.

A report on CNET said neither Brown nor the Autopilot applied the car’s brakes when a truck crossed its path. However, NHTSA's said the system performed as was intended.

Bryan Thomas, a spokesman from NHTSA, said the driver had about 7 seconds to respond to the truck as it crossed his path. He said this was plenty of time for the driver to stop.

Tesla has promised additional safety features. Last October, the company said all cars produced from then on would be equipped with sensors and additional features that will eventually allow autonomous driving. The phase is known as Level 5.

Tesla will gradually release new auto features, the company stated.

A series of wrecks last year raised questions about the safety of autonomous cars.

In theory, self-driving cars should be safer than traditional cars. The driver-assist feature means they can maintain a constant speed on highways, brake and speed up according to the traffic flow. They can even pass slower vehicles. Despite these features, the fatal crash in Florida makes it clear that drivers should still actively monitor the road.

Analyst Tim Carone of the University of Notre Dame told VOA more crashes are inevitable as the number of partially-automated cars increases. However, he predicts the new technology will significantly reduce the number of crashes, as well as having environmental advantages.

There are many liability issues inherent with self-driving cars. In the future, lawsuits may be brought against manufacturers rather than drivers.  If you have been involved in a wreck in Virginia due to the fault of another driver, please call us at (757) 455-0077.

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