In a report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the driver who was killed in a fatal Tesla crash last year was playing a video on his phone as the collision occurred.

The SUV involved in the crash was in autopilot mode at the time and did not engage its safety breaking or collision avoidance system. It crashed into a barrier, and perhaps the strangest thing about this event was that the vehicle accelerated to about 71 mph right before it hit the barrier.

While it is not completely clear, some reasons for the malfunctioning safety systems that were put in place may have to do with the faded lines on the road. Another factor that played a roll in the lethal collision was the barrier that hadn’t had its cushion replaced from the week prior.

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FILE – In this March 23, 2018, file photo provided by KTVU, emergency personnel work a the scene where a Tesla electric SUV crashed into a barrier on U.S. Highway 101 in Mountain View, Calif. The National Transportation Safety Board says the driver of a Tesla SUV who died in a Silicon Valley crash two years ago was playing a video game on his smartphone at the time. Chairman Robert Sumwalt said at the start of a hearing Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 that partially automated driving systems like Tesla’s Autopilot cannot drive themselves. Yet he says drivers continue to use them without paying attention. (KTVU via /AP)

“You can’t read a book, you can’t watch a movie or TV show, you can’t text, and you can’t play video games,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said, [The AP Report]

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Sumwalt couldn’t have said that any better. While some new tech is convenient to have, It doesn’t make sense to put so much trust in something that has just been introduced. I’ve been in a car that had some level of self-driving capability, and when the driver took their hand off the wheel, I felt really uneasy. Hopefully, self-driving software will improve, but I also hope that our level of human judgment doesn’t falter as technological advantages rise. Bottom line, stay aware of anything you’re involved in, even if someone or something else is doing it for you.


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