Though it may be tempting for owners of and passengers in expensive, high-tech vehicles to leave the driving to increasingly smarter cars, Americans still must beware of lethal, injurious shortcomings in this new autonomous age.
In just 10 recent months, federal officials say, almost “400 crashes in the United States … involved cars using advanced driver-assistance technologies,” the New York Times reported of new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The newspaper noted this of NHTSA’s aggressive efforts to determine the safety of increasingly popular, advanced driving systems:
“In 392 incidents cataloged by the agency from July 1 of last year through May 15, six people died and five were seriously injured. Teslas operating with Autopilot, the more ambitious Full Self Driving mode or any of their associated component features were in 273 crashes. Five of those Tesla crashes were fatal. The data was collected under a NHTSA order last year requiring automakers to report crashes involving cars with advanced driver-assistance systems. Scores of manufacturers have rolled out such systems in recent years, including features that let you take your hands off the steering wheel under certain conditions and that help you parallel park. NHTSA’s order was an unusually bold step for the regulator, which has come under fire in recent years for not being more assertive with automakers.”