Federal regulators are investigating a May car crash involving a former Navy SEAL as the first fatality linked to a self-driving car.
Joshua Brown, 40, died May 7 when his Tesla Motors Inc Model S car collided with a truck in Williston, Florida. The Canton, Ohio, man’s obituary said he spent part of his life as a member of the Navy’s elite special operations forces.
“Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied,” Tesla said in a statement released Thursday. “When drivers activate Autopilot, the acknowledgment box explains, among other things, that Autopilot ‘is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times,’ and that ‘you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle’ while using it.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will now investigate roughly 25,000 Model S vehicles operating in the U.S., Reuters reported Friday.
Frank Baressi, the 62-year-old truck driver involved in the accident, told The Associated Press that Mr. Brown was watching a movie at the time of the accident.
“He went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him,” Mr. Baressi said.
The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed Friday that a DVD player was found with the veteran’s car but could not confirm that it was playing at the time of the crash, AP reported.
“Once the complete investigation results are published, we’ll obviously evaluate all the data and the conclusions and make our decision from there,” added Paul Grieco, an attorney representing Mr. Brown’s family.
No decision has been reached regarding litigation, AP reported.
• Douglas Ernst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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