Wednesday, February 1, 2023
News Vehicular Manslaughter is Verdict Against Tesla Driver on Autopilot

Vehicular Manslaughter is Verdict Against Tesla Driver on Autopilot

Might this situation cool interest in full self-driving technologies?

  • The 2019 crash killed two occupants in a Honda Civic.

  • These are the first felony charges handed down following a fatal crash involving an automated driving system.

For the first time in history, a “driver” of a vehicle equipped with a partially automated driving system involved in a fatal crash has had felony charges imposed. He was behind the wheel of a Tesla equipped with AutoPilot.

Tesla arcade
Tesla arcade

Elon Musk has been touting the coming of full self-driving technology since 2014. His predictions at the time were more or less that FSD was going to be a thing in 2015. Here we are in early 2022 and we’re not quite there yet. Tesla’s FSD is impressive however has been the subject of many complaints and investigations by the NHTSA and the National Transportation Safety Board over the years but this time, it’s different.

In December 2019, a Tesla on AutoPilot ran a red light at a high rate of speed and crashed into a Honda Civic killing two. As a result, California prosecutors have now levied two counts of vehicular manslaughter against the driver according to the Associated Press.

The “driver”, a limousine service driver, has pleaded not guilty and the preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 23rd.

Since 2016, the NHTSA has investigated 26 crashes involving Tesla’s AutoPilot automated driving technology in which at least 11 people have died.

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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