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Auto-driving features in cars still require attentive drivers

A couple months ago, we discussed a fatal accident involving a truck and a Tesla, which was running on autopilot. New details about the crash include that the driver of the Tesla ignored a number of warnings.

In our March post, we discussed the complications of assigning liability in the aftermath of an accident involving an autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicle. In this post, we want to remind of the ongoing responsibility drivers have – and will continue to have for the foreseeable future – whenever they get behind the wheel.

Why this bears repeating

In light of the many tech advancements in motor vehicles, including self-driving features, some people have made the mistake of assuming that cars will drive themselves. This is not the case, at least not for now.

The investigation into causes and actions leading up to the accident between the Tesla and the truck illustrates the point. It revealed that the driver involved in the crash had received seven visible and six audible warnings from the car to keep his hands on the wheel. It also indicated that the driver never applied the brakes or tried to steer away from the truck.

What these findings mean for other drivers

Our cars can only do so much to keep us safe. Even with autopilot functions, they still require the action and attention of human operators to move safely.

Driver engagement is still essential when it comes to monitoring speed, adjusting to changing road conditions and looking out for obstructions. Failing to appreciate these duties can and will lead to serious accidents.

What we can do to stay safe

Rather than relying on the latest technology added into our cars, drivers should stay focused on driving safely. This includes avoiding distractions like texting, staying sober and complying with traffic laws whether driving two minutes to the store on a errand of driving 20 hours cross country to visit family this summer.

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