The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is sending a team of five investigators to Florida to conduct an analysis of a fatal accident in May involving a Tesla automobile.
The accident made national news, as the vehicle was running on autopilot at the time it slammed into a semi-truck. The decision to investigate the accident is a significant step for the agency, as it typically only handles major cases like train and airplane crashes. In many cases, NTSB investigations lead to new rules or regulations in the transportation industry, which has led some to conclude potential new rules for self-driving cars could be on the horizon.
NTSB and self-driving automobiles
In the past, the NTSB has been on record as supporting the use of automation in vehicles to help prevent crashes. However, it has also warned the public that there are certain downsides to the technology, which can cause confusion and/or complacency.
The accident in question occurred when the driver of the truck reportedly made a left turn in front of the Tesla on a divided highway. The car slammed into it at a very high speed, instantly killing the driver. There have been reports that the Tesla driver was watching a movie on a personal DVD player at the time.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also launched an investigation as part of its overall review of automated vehicle technology. Auto industry experts say they consider the involvement of both the NTSB and NHTSA as significant.
This recent accident is rare, but as self-driving cars become more common, we could see more cases like it in the future. If you or a loved one have been injured in any type of car accident, speak with a knowledgeable Bradenton injury attorney at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh.