California driver's first trial after fatal accident - DALTONHURD

California driver’s first trial after fatal accident

The driver of a Tesla with the Autopilot system on will be brought to justice following an accident that killed two people in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles County judge says there’s enough evidence to bring 27-year-old Kevin Riad to trial in two cases of vehicular manslaughter following a 2019 accident driving a car Tesla Model S that claimed the lives of two people in Gardena, making it the first felony prosecution in the United States against a driver using a semi-autonomous driving system.

Police say the Tesla, after leaving the freeway, burned through a fire and was traveling 119 km/h when it crashed into a Honda Civic at an intersection on December 29, 2019. The occupants of the Civic, Gilberto Lopez, 40 years, and Maria Nieves Lopez, 39, were killed instantly while Riad and a woman accompanying him were hospitalized with minor injuries.

Autopilot and Full Self Driving are not autonomous driving systems

Investigators revealed that the Tesla’s Autosteer (steering assistance) and Traffic Aware Cruise Control (adaptive cruise control) were engaged, with an engineer from the brand testifying that the sensors indicate that Riad had one hand on it. the steering wheel but that the brake pedal had not been touched for the six minutes preceding the accident. Tesla reminded that Autopilot and the more sophisticated Full Self Driving are not fully autonomous driving systems and that drivers using them must remain attentive and be ready to react at all times.

However, this is not the first time such an accident has taken place as another similar case is awaiting trial for negligent homicide in Arizona following the death of a pedestrian in 2020. mowed down by a Volvo XC90 in full test sponsored by Uber for the development of its autonomous driving system. A second investigation is underway by NHTSA following an accident on May 12 involving another Tesla in Newport Beach that killed three people.

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