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No Excuse for Not Paying Attention

black car interior

Scandal has hit Tesla’s autopilot system when it killed two people by running a read light and hitting another car. The Tesla driver (in my opinion) rightly charged with vehicular manslaughter, why you ask? Because there is literally no excuse for not paying attention, whilst the computers sensors are configured to pick up as many possible dangers as possible it cannot predict everything – there is also the possibility of one of the sensors failing it is also important to remember that it is not fully automated. Experts believe it is the first felony prosecution in the United States of a driver accused of causing a fatality while using a partially automated driver-assist system.

“Whether a [Level 2] automated driving system is engaged or not, every available vehicle requires the human driver to be in control at all times, and all state laws hold the human driver responsible for the operation of their vehicles,” a NHTSA spokesperson said. “Certain advanced driving assistance features can promote safety by helping drivers avoid crashes and mitigate the severity of crashes that occur, but as with all technologies and equipment on motor vehicles, drivers must use them correctly and responsibly.”

LA Times

The driver actually pleaded not guilty and has been released on bail but I suspect that prosecutors will do their best to make it stick largely because people need to understand that there is no such thing as a fully automated self driving car yet. They are of course being tested but there are none on the market and drivers should not assume they can just hand over all control to something that can literally kill people as we have seen.

We seem to live in a world where we do not wish to accept responsibility for anything – we assume that automated software will protect us from our own short comings. I personally think that autopilot is a dangerous and lazy invention and it has proved on more than one occasion that I am correct.

The fact that the driver can in good conscience plead not guilty only reiterates my point of not wanting to accept responsibility – this assertion that it wasn’t his fault is absolute nonsense he was clearly not paying attention and assumed that the car would stop at the red light. By Teslas own admission drivers still need to pay attention as although it has a traffic control sensor it is not fully automated.

I hope (whilst I never wish bad things to happen to people) that the driver is prosecuted to the full extend of the law largely because I want him to learn that there are consequences to his actions and he simply cant blame the car. Tesla have worded their website very carefully and I’d like to think that the driver would have read the instructions and warnings but it might be safe to assume not. Considering the guy is a professional limo driver he has basically lost his livelihood entirely unnecessarily and killed people in the process.

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