Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The first death involving a self-driving car occurred in Florida

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Officials have confirmed the first death involving a self-driving car using autopilot, and it occurred in Florida.

The fatal crash occurred on May 7 in Williston, Florida. The victim, Joshua D. Brown of Canton, Ohio, was allegedly watching Harry Potter videos in his Tesla Model S when the self-driving car collided into a tractor-trailer making a left turn at a highway intersection, says ABC

The Model S went underneath the trailer, shearing off the roof of the vehicle.

"What we know is that the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S," Tesla said in a statement on their website. "Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied."

The statement went on to explain that "Tesla disables Autopilot by default and requires explicit acknowledgement that the system is new technology and still in a public beta phase before it can be enabled. When drivers activate Autopilot, the acknowledgment box explains, among other things, that Autopilot 'is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times,' and that 'you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle' while using it." 

Frank Baressi, the driver of the truck that was hit, told ABC that Brown "went so fast through my trailer I didn't see him."

Tesla pointed out that the statistics show that auto-pilot is still safer than driving manually. "This is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the U.S., there is a fatality every 94 million miles." 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


© 2022 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation