NHTSA Considers Adapting to Self-Improving Cars

new safety technologyThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering making changes to its procedures involving auto safety recalls due to the rise of over-the-air update technology in new vehicles.

The NHTSA’s consideration to re-evaluate its procedures concerning safety recalls comes after it ended the investigation into the death of a Tesla driver who was killed in May 2016 due to a suspected error made by a Model S Autopilot feature.

Tesla denies that a defect in the vehicle’s Autopilot feature was what caused it fail to apply its brake and turn into a tractor-trailer truck.

Instead, the company insists that the driver had his hands partially on the steering wheel and that the vehicle’s self-driving feature had already turned off. Model S drivers are now issued a warning that states they must have their hands on the steering wheel at all times when using the Autopilot feature.

The NHTSA’s investigation into the Tesla Model S Autopilot error concluded that the over-the-air updates Tesla made following the accident saved the automaker from having to recall all vehicles equipped with this feature.

Over-the-air updates enable automakers to fix errors in self-driving systems or software related issues in a vehicle’s system remotely, without requiring the owner to bring the vehicle to a dealership or garage.

NTHSA officials have acknowledged that Tesla’s utilization of over-the-air updates addressed concerns the administration had over self-driving vehicles and that if more auto manufacturers were to install this technology in new model vehicles, it would spare them from costly recalls.

The NHTSA will address whether over-the-air technology will affect recall procedures as it develops the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, a 15-poit guideline that will provide future regulations for self-driving vehicles.

Although innovations in vehicle safety technology will decrease accidents in the future, motorists are still responsible for practicing safe driving behaviors while operating a vehicle. Drivers who cause an auto crash that results in injuries or death can be held liable for their negligence. Contact our Phoenix car accident attorneys to learn more about filing a claim that could help you receive compensation.

Call 602-222-222 to speak with an attorney about filing a car accident claim.