self-driving car fatalityThe crash that killed Joshua Brown on May 7, 2016 is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. During the crash Brown’s car collided with a tractor-trailer turning left in front of him. The Tesla Autopilot feature was turned on in Brown’s car and a Harry Potter DVD was playing.

Unlike the self-driving cars that Google has been testing, the autopilot function of the Tesla cars cautions users that the technology “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times.” It is not clear yet why Brown or the autopilot system did not sense the truck and stop his car.

The death of Brown brings the question of the safety of self-driving vehicles to the forefront of the conversation about them. Almost 94% of all accidents are caused by driver error according to the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. Worldwide, there is about one fatality for every 60 million miles driven. This is the first fatality in a Tesla vehicle with over 130 million miles driven with the Autopilot feature. While early statistics like these point to a safer driving experience, it will take decades to understand whether the risks of self-driving cars are worth the convenience and possible overall decrease in fatalities.

At Shafner Law, our attorneys and staff are committed to helping accident victims navigate the legal system to get the justice and the compensation they deserve for their injuries. If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in an auto accident, call our experienced car accident attorneys today at (303) 796-0555 for your free consultation. We represent clients throughout Greenwood Village, DTC, Denver and the state of Colorado.