Tesla driver is charged with vehicular manslaughter after running a red light on Autopilot

A Tesla driver has been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter after running a red light on Autopilot – this is probably going the primary time that a driver is charged with a felony for something that happened while using semi-autonomous driving features available to customers.

The incident happened back in 2019 in Gardena, a suburb of Los Angeles, but it surely is now coming to light after legal documents reveal the costs filed last October.

Kevin George Aziz Riad, a 27-year-old limousine driver, was using his Tesla Model S on Autopilot when he ran a red light and crashed right into a Honda Civic, killing the 2 occupants, Gilberto Alcazar Lopez and Maria Guadalupe Nieves-Lopez. An occupant within the Model S was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Now, a yr later, prosecutors have decided to file to charges of vehicular manslaughter (via The Washington Post):

California prosecutors have filed two counts of vehicular manslaughter against the driving force of a Tesla on Autopilot who ran a red light, slammed into one other automobile and killed two people in 2019.

Using Autopilot was confirmed by an NHTSA investigation into the crash, but it surely isn’t mentioned by the prosecutors as the driving force is all the time chargeable for the vehicle when behind the wheel. Also, on the time of the accident, there was no Tesla Autopilot to decelerate and stop for a red light.

The Post suggests that that is the primary time that somebody was charged with a felony for a crash involving a partially automated driving system:

The defendant appears to be the primary person to be charged with a felony in america for a fatal crash involving a motorist who was using a partially automated driving system. Los Angeles County prosecutors filed the costs in October, but they got here to light only last week.

The Uber driver behind the wheel of an autonomous test vehicle involved in a fatal accident with a pedestrian in Arizona was charged with a negligent homicide charge. They’re making distinctions between the 2 cases for the reason that Uber incident involved a test vehicle as a part of a self-driving test program and never a driver assist system, like Tesla Autopilot, which is accessible to the general public.

Kevin George Aziz Riad has pled not guilty to the vehicular manslaughter charges and he’s out on bail.

Electrek’s Take

Based on the data we now have in the mean time, which to be fair is coming from the prosecution, it feels like a straightforward case of the driving force not being attentive and running a red light, causing those tragic deaths.

Autopilot is only a driver-assist system that happened to be energetic on the time – it is going to be interesting to see if the driving force and his legal team resolve to make use of it in his defense.

I feel like that might be problematic since all of the Autopilot literature – including the alert that pops up within the automobile each time you activate it – lets you realize that it’s essential keep your hands on the steering wheel in any respect times, able to take control.

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