Tesla driver in fatal 'Autopilot' crash got numerous warnings: U.S. government

Nettie James
June 21, 2017

As you'll probably recall, the driver, Joshua Brown (a former Navy SEAL), was killed in a May 2016 collision with a semi truck near Williston, Florida, one that saw the whole top half of the Tesla Model S in question completely sheared off.

The NTSB report revealed that Brown was supposed to take control for 37 minutes during the journey but only had his hands on the wheel for a shockingly low 25 seconds.

Former Navy SEAL and electric vehicle enthusiast Joshua Brown was killed in an accident on May 7, 2016, when his Tesla Model S drove into the side of a tractor-trailer while using the semi-autonomous Autopilot driving function.

The findings come from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Model S accident sparked a debate about the auto company's partially autonomous driving tools. A representative said, "Autopilot is by far the most advanced driver-assistance system on the road, but it does not turn a Tesla into an autonomous vehicle and does not allow the driver to abdicate responsibility".

A Tesla spokeswoman referred inquiries to previous company statements about the crash. The NTSB on Monday released a roughly 500-page report detailing the facts of the case, but declined to provide a final analysis or judgment because the investigation is ongoing. Earlier this year, the NHTSA released its own report, which also concluded that Joshua had ignored the manufacturer's warnings to keep his hands on the wheel. At that time, Tesla founder Elon Musk called the report "very positive". "The NTSB recovered several electronic devices, including Brown's laptop, but according to the report, ".the investigators did not uncover any evidence that those devices were in use at the time of the crash".

Brown also drove at 74 miles per hour - above the 65-mph limit - and the car's systems detected no manual attempts to brake prior to the crash.

The NTSB probes only a handful of highway accidents each year in search of broad safety lessons. Brown did not manually apply the brakes either with his last input to the auto being setting the cruise control to 74 mile per hour in a 65 zone.

As for the truck driver, he was charged with a right of way traffic violation by the Florida Highway Patrol and is expected to appear in a court hearing Wednesday. The cause of the crash hasn't been determined.

Other reports by Insurance News

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