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First deadly self-driving car crash involved semi-truck

Nearly a year and a half ago, a Tesla enthusiast was fatally injured in a car crash while in autopilot mode. This was the first fatality reported for the self-driving cars that are becoming more popular each year.

Car driver initially blamed for accident

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that the driver was to blame for using the Tesla Autopilot feature at an inappropriate time. The car manufacturer instructs drivers to use the self-driving mode only on highways with medians and clear lane markings. There was no median at the intersection where the driver died. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) continued to investigate the crash.

Who is really at fault?

In some motor vehicle accidents, there may be a number of parties at fault, such as:

  • Another motorist, be it the driver who ran into you or someone else who caused another driver to hit you
  • A company, e.g. a trucking company that failed to properly train its truck drivers
  • The manufacturer of a vehicle involved in the accident
  • The governmental agency responsible for road maintenance

Often, it takes an experienced personal injury attorney to figure out who is to blame for truck accident injuries.

The NTSB recently determined that both the truck driver and Tesla were partly responsible for the man's death. While he should have been paying more attention while in self-driving mode, the truck driver failed to yield the right of way to him. The trucker also tested positive for marijuana use.

The NTSB further reported that Tesla does not do enough to make drivers comply with the use restrictions of the autopilot feature. The official report of the Board's findings included a number of safety recommendations for Tesla.

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