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[Slashdot] - Tesla Autopilot, Distracted Driving To Blame In Deadly 2018 Crash

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Slashdot readers TomGreenhaw and gollum123 are sharing the findings from a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation into a fatal Tesla Model X crash that occurred in 2018 near Mountain View, California. The agency says Tesla's Autopilot system and the driver's distraction by a mobile device were two of the probable causes of the crash. The Verge reports: The safety board arrived at those probable causes after a nearly two-year investigation into the crash. NTSB investigators also named a number of contributing factors, including that the crash attenuator in front of the barrier was damaged and had not been repaired by California's transportation department, Caltrans, in a timely manner. Had the crash attenuator been replaced, NTSB investigators said Tuesday that the driver, Walter Huang, likely would have survived. The NTSB shared its findings at the end of a three-hour-long hearing on Tuesday. During the hearing, board members took issue with Tesla's approach to mitigating the misuse of Autopilot, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's lax approach to regulating partial automation technology, and Apple -- Huang's employer -- for not having a distracted driving policy. (Huang was playing the mobile game on a company-issued iPhone.) "In this crash we saw an over-reliance on technology, we saw distraction, we saw a lack of policy prohibiting cell phone use while driving, and we saw infrastructure failures, which, when combined, led to this tragic loss," NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said at the end of the hearing on Tuesday. "We urge Tesla to continue to work on improving their Autopilot technology and for NHTSA to fulfill its oversight responsibility to ensure that corrective action is taken where necessary. It's time to stop enabling drivers in any partially automated vehicle to pretend that they have driverless cars."

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