Last year, a Florida motorist was killed in a traffic accident when the Tesla car he was operating crashed into the side of a semi-truck. Evidently, the Tesla was traveling at highway speeds when a semi-truck pulled in front of the car. At the time, the Tesla was in auto-pilot mode and did not stop in time to avoid a collision with the side of the truck.
Since this fatal accident was the first involving a vehicle with the new auto-pilot technology, it raised many practical and legal questions. For example, which parties should be responsible when a self-driving car is involved in a serious accident?
In a recently released report by the National Transportation Safety Bureau, it was revealed that the driver of the Tesla was given numerous warnings to retake control of the vehicle prior to the fatal collision. According to an article detailing the report’s findings, the driver was heavily relying on the vehicle’s auto-pilot technology. In fact, of the 41 minutes leading up to the accident, the vehicle was in auto-pilot mode for over 37 minutes. Of those 37 minutes, the driver’s hands were only on the wheel for about 30 seconds. The report also explained that the vehicle’s warning system recommended that the driver place his hands back on the wheel seven times in the moments leading up to the accident.
Investigators with the NTSB believe that the cause of the accident was the failure of both the driver and the car’s auto-pilot system to notice the bright-white side of the semi-truck against the bright sky. The recently released report contains only preliminary findings, and a more detailed accident report will be released in the near future.
Legal Issues Involving Self-Driving Cars
As the technology behind self-driving cars continues to advance, these vehicles will become much more common on Florida roads. While self-driving cars present motorists with many potential benefits, the reality is that the technology is still in its infancy, and any kinks will need to be worked out in the coming years.
Adding to the potential danger of self-driving cars is the ease with which drivers can overly rely on the technology. Technology will never be able to replicate the speed with which human drivers can react to sudden events, and the fact that a car has an auto-pilot mode or other self-driving features should not mean that the driver can completely remove his or her attention from the road.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled attorneys at the South Florida personal injury and wrongful death law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience assisting their injured clients with seeking the compensation they deserve. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
More Blog Posts:
Errant Golf Ball Strikes Baby in Stroller on Nearby City-Owned Walking Path, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 5, 2017.
Who Is Responsible in Florida When Someone Causes an Accident Using a Borrowed or Stolen Car?, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 19, 2017.