NEW YORK – Everyone knew this day would come. After all, not every accident can be prevented but after a successfully rolling-out partially self-driving cars for eight months, Tesla has become the subject of a federal investigation.
Tesla revealed that one of its Model S vehicles equipped with the company’s Autopilot had been linked to fatal accident and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be investigating the crash.
According to the Levy Journal in Florida, the Model S subject of the federal investigation was traveling next to a tractor trailer on a central Florida highway. Neither the driver nor the car noticed the heavy truck “against a brightly lit sky.”
A New York car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says these systems provide drivers with the hope and promise of a safer ride but even the machines aren’t perfect.
“As autopilot systems become more complex and widely distributed to cars around the nation, we want to emphasize the importance to remain alert as a driver in New York,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said. “These safety systems are constantly being tweaked and retooled and there’s no knowing how the car will react.”
The accident happened on May 7th in Williston, Florida. Joshua Brown, 40, from Ohio was killed when the Model S struck a large truck. The truck driver was not injured, police said.
Without Autopilot, a fatality occurs on U.S. roads every 94 million miles, on average. Tesla however, claims its Autopilot feature has driven greater distances without an incident. Pending the results of the federal investigation, Tesla hasn’t ruled-out issuing a recall.
When Tesla introduced Autopilot in its vehicles last October, CEO Elon Musk cautioned car owners that the system, which allows Tesla cars to steer, brake and change lanes automatically were in ‘beta release.’
“We’re advising drivers to keep their hands on the wheel,” Musk said in October. “You need to be ready to take the wheel at any time.”
The New York car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes echo Musk’s warning but Cellino says the company could still bear some of the responsibility.
“Drivers don’t always know what the car is thinking,” Cellino said. “Much like a computer, the slightest malfunction could cause problems – even a deadly crash.”
How could the vehicle not recognize the large tractor trailer in the adjacent lane? …And did the driver have enough time to react? Those are questions federal investigators hope to answer.
The Florida accident is the first known death in over 130 million miles of autopilot operation, Tesla said.
Cellino & Barnes has represented clients in all 50 states and Canada. It has also received high scores and praise from former clients for ability, quality of service and value. If you or a family member has been injured in a crash, contact our New York car accident lawyers today for a free case evaluation.