Driver of Autonomous Vehicle Killed in Accident


The move towards self-driving vehicles suffered a setback when the occupant of a self-driving car was killed in an accident. It is considered to be the first known fatality involving an autonomous vehicle.

The New York Times reported that, on May 7, Joshua Brown, of Canton, Ohio, was killed while he was behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S electric sedan while the car was in self-driving mode in Williston, Florida, located 100 miles northwest of Orlando. A preliminary report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that the accident occurred when a tractor trailer made a left-hand turn in front of the Tesla, which failed to apply the brakes in order to avoid the crash.

Tesla said in a press release that the brake was not applied because the white side of the tractor trailer could not be seen against a bright sky. The company would not say whether Mr. Brown, the technology inside the car, or both were to blame for the crash. The NHTSA said it is working with the Florida Highway Patrol in investigating the incident. Meanwhile, the federal agency is expected to release this month a set of guidelines and regulations on testing self-driving vehicles on public roads.

Although Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk praised the new self-driving feature, the company warned that it is only a test feature and the autonomous mode was “an assist feature” that still required drivers to use the steering wheel “at all times.”

If you have suffered the loss of loved one due to a car crash, contact the experienced Brooklyn personal injury attorneys at the Georgaklis & Mallas, PLLC. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at (718) 238-2400.