Tesla Driver Got 7 Warnings Before Fatal Self-Driving Crash

NTSB says he didn't take the wheel when instructed before collision
By Josh Rosenblatt,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2017 1:03 PM CDT

(Newser) – The government has released its report on the first-ever fatal self-driving car accident, and it shows that human involvement is required even when using the technology of the future. Last May, Joshua Brown collided with a left-turning truck on a divided highway near Williston, Fla., while his Tesla Model S sedan was in Autopilot. On Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board released 500 pages of findings about the accident, including a big one: During his trip, Brown ignored seven visual warnings to put his hands on the wheel, six of which were followed by a chime, reports Reuters. During a 37-minute stretch when he was supposed to be controlling the wheel, he did so for only 25 seconds. The report exonerated Brown on one thing: It found that he didn't seem to be watching a movie when the crash happened, as some reports had suggested.

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"Unequivocally false," says the family lawyer, saying the movie theory should be laid to rest. At the time of the accident, Tesla released a statement saying neither the autopilot system nor Brown “noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.” According to the report, the truck should have been visible to Brown for at least seven seconds, but the driver "took no braking, steering or other actions to avoid the collision." Less than two minutes before the accident, Brown had set the cruise control to 74 mph, nine miles per hour over the speed limit. Since the accident, Tesla has upgraded its Autopilot feature, which will now shut down if a driver fails to respond to audible warnings. For a diagram of the how the accident occurred, see Business Insider. (Read more Tesla stories.)

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