09:03 GMT18 September 2020
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    Tesla driver Devainder Goli was watching a movie and using the car’s Autopilot feature this week when the car slammed into a Nash County Sheriff’s Office deputy’s vehicle in Nash County, North Carolina, according to authorities.

    According to The News & Observer, the crash took place Wednesday, around 13 miles outside the town of Nashville. Although both cars were totaled, no one was injured. 

    However, Goli was charged with violating the move-over law and watching television while operating a car. The move-over law requires motorists to move and switch lanes to clear space for law enforcement officers, firefighters, ambulances, utility workers and, in some cases, disabled vehicles and tow-truck drivers.

    This is not the first time that a person has gotten into a crash while using Tesla’s Autopilot feature. For example, Joshua Brown was killed in Florida in 2016 when his car hit a tractor-trailer while in Autopilot mode, according to the Sacramento Bee. During that same year, Albert Scaglione and his son-in-law, Tim Yanke, both survived after their Tesla crashed while it was operating in Autopilot mode, according to the Detroit Free Press.

    More recently in December 2019, three crashes involving Tesla’s Autopilot killed three people, raising questions over the safety of the feature. 

    On December 29, a Tesla Model S ran a red light on a California freeway in Los Angeles, crashing into a Honda Civic and killing two people inside the Civic, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed. On December 29, a Tesla Model 3 crashed into a parked fire truck on an Indiana freeway, resulting in the death of a passenger in the Tesla. On December 7, a Tesla Model 3 collided with a police cruiser on a Connecticut freeway. However, no injuries occurred as a result of that incident. 

    Tesla has stated that its Autopilot system is designed to assist and not to replace drivers. On its website, the company, which was founded by Elon Musk, writes, “Autopilot advanced safety and convenience features are designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving. Autopilot introduces new features and improves existing functionality to make your Tesla safer and more capable over time.”

    “Autopilot enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane.

    Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous,” the company adds.

     

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