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NHTSA Rejects Tesla Recall After Fatal Crash Last Year

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Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

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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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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