Tuesday, November 30News That Matters

Tag: Traffic Accidents and Safety

Vanessa Bryant Tells of Kobe Bryant’s Death in New Deposition

Vanessa Bryant Tells of Kobe Bryant’s Death in New Deposition

Sports
One of the most contentious issues, the subject of numerous court filings in recent days, is whether the county can conduct what are called independent medical examinations, which involve psychiatric evaluations, of each of the plaintiffs.Bryant’s lawyers argue that the examinations are “cruel” and that the county is sending a message by requesting them. “When public servants violate the privacy and constitutional rights of the citizens they swore to protect and serve, the victims must run a gauntlet to seek justice,” Bryant’s lawyers argued in one of the filings.But the county contends that the examinations are “a routine part of the discovery process,” according to filings. Bryant and the other plaintiffs are arguing that they suffered emotional distress because of the actions of county ...
Tesla Under Scrutiny Over Lack of Recall After Autopilot Update

Tesla Under Scrutiny Over Lack of Recall After Autopilot Update

Technology
The top federal auto safety regulator sent two letters to Tesla this week raising questions about the company’s driver-assistance software systems and instructing the carmaker to provide fuller information.The regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is looking into why Tesla did not issue a recall last month when it updated software called Autopilot to improve its ability to spot stopped emergency vehicles such as police cars and fire trucks.The agency also ordered Tesla to provide data about the software that the company calls Full Self-Driving and expressed concern that Tesla may be preventing customers from sharing safety information with the agency.The moves suggest that NHTSA is taking a closer look at Tesla’s driver-assistance features and the gap between their...
Tesla Sells ‘Full Self-Driving,’ but What Is It Really?

Tesla Sells ‘Full Self-Driving,’ but What Is It Really?

Technology
Tesla did not respond to several requests for comment.Complaints about the F.S.D. kit may pale in comparison with the concerns that people are being killed by misuse of or glitches in Tesla’s driver-assistance technology. But they point to a common thread of Tesla’s approach to driving automation: The company is making promises that other carmakers shrink from, and its customers think their cars can do more on their own than they really can.“One of the downsides of automated technology can be overreliance — people relying on something it may not be able to do,” said Jason K. Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit that has monitored the industry since the early 1970s.Other automakers are being considerably more conservative when it comes to automation. The lik...
Inside a Fatal Tesla Autopilot Accident: ‘It Happened So Fast’

Inside a Fatal Tesla Autopilot Accident: ‘It Happened So Fast’

Business
George Brian McGee, a finance executive in Florida, was driving home in a Tesla Model S operating on Autopilot, a system that can steer, brake and accelerate a car on its own, when he dropped his phone during a call and bent down to look for it.Neither he nor Autopilot noticed that the road was ending and the Model S drove past a stop sign and a flashing red light. The car smashed into a parked Chevrolet Tahoe, killing a 22-year-old college student, Naibel Benavides.One of a growing number of fatal accidents involving Tesla cars operating on Autopilot, Mr. McGee’s case is unusual because he survived and told investigators what had happened: He got distracted and put his trust in a system that did not see and brake for a parked car in front of it. Tesla drivers using Autopilot in other fata...
Tesla Autopilot Faces U.S. Inquiry After Series of Crashes

Tesla Autopilot Faces U.S. Inquiry After Series of Crashes

Technology
The federal government’s top auto-safety agency has opened a formal investigation of Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assistance system because of growing concerns that it can fail to see parked emergency vehicles.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was aware of 11 crashes since 2018 in which Tesla vehicles operating under Autopilot control had hit fire trucks, police cars and other vehicles with flashing lights that were stopped along roadways. Seven of those crashes have resulted in a total of 17 injuries and one death.“Most incidents took place after dark and the crash scenes encountered included scene control measures such as first-responder vehicle lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board, and road cones,” the safety agency said in a summary of the investigation.The n...
Flood Deaths in China Show Road Risks From Climate Change

Flood Deaths in China Show Road Risks From Climate Change

Technology, World
ZHENGZHOU, China — More than 200 cars were caught in a highway tunnel on Tuesday in central China when record-setting rainfall soaked the area. Torrents of water poured in the tunnel’s entrances, nearly filling it to the ceiling.The death toll that day probably would have been higher had it not been for a semiretired special forces commando who swam back and forth among the bobbing, colliding vehicles to rescue drowning drivers as their cars filled with water and sank. The authorities are still draining the tunnel, and have said that at least four people died.Initially, international attention to transportation safety risks from extreme weather focused on drownings in a subway tunnel that filled with water during the same cloudburst in Zhengzhou, in central China’s Henan Province. But the ...
Tesla Says Autopilot Makes Its Cars Safer. Crash Victims Say It Kills.

Tesla Says Autopilot Makes Its Cars Safer. Crash Victims Say It Kills.

Business
Benjamin Maldonado and his teenage son were driving back from a soccer tournament on a California freeway in August 2019 when a truck in front of them slowed. Mr. Maldonado flicked his turn signal and moved right. Within seconds, his Ford Explorer pickup was hit by a Tesla Model 3 that was traveling about 60 miles per hour on Autopilot.A six-second video captured by the Tesla and data it recorded show that neither Autopilot — Tesla’s much-vaunted system that can steer, brake and accelerate a car on its own — nor the driver slowed the vehicle until a fraction of a second before the crash. Fifteen-year-old Jovani, who had been in the front passenger seat and not wearing his seatbelt, was thrown from the Ford and died, according to a police report.The accident, which took place four miles fro...
University of Kentucky’s Terrence Clarke Is Killed in Crash

University of Kentucky’s Terrence Clarke Is Killed in Crash

Sports
Terrence Clarke, who recently joined an elite list of University of Kentucky basketball stars who have left the blue-blooded program early to pursue dreams of playing in the N.B.A., was killed in a car accident on Thursday in Los Angeles, the university said. He was 19.The crash took place shortly after 2 p.m. northwest of downtown when a vehicle traveling on Winnetka Avenue broadsided a car turning onto Nordhoff Street, Officer William Cooper, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said Thursday night.He said that the driver of the car that crashed into the turning vehicle, whom he could not identify, had later died from injuries sustained in the accident. Earlier on Thursday night, the spokesman said the driver of the car that had been broadsided later died. Additional detail...
Can Tech Make the Roads Safer?

Can Tech Make the Roads Safer?

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it weekdays.When the pandemic kept people at home more in 2020, Americans drove far fewer miles than usual. But more people died on the roads.Our roads are dangerous, particularly for pedestrians. I have been curious whether having more technology to enforce traffic laws might help — or whether it would make things worse.I’m reminded of this every time I see reckless driving where I live in New York. (And there is some evidence that this is increasing.) Part of me wants cameras everywhere to blitz drivers with tickets for running red lights or speeding. But I’m also wary of mass surveillance.I talked about this with Sarah Kaufman, associate director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management a...
2 Killed in Driverless Tesla Car Crash, Officials Say

2 Killed in Driverless Tesla Car Crash, Officials Say

Technology
Mitchell Weston, chief investigator at the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, said that while the batteries are “generally safe,” impacts at high speeds can result in “thermal runaway,” which causes an “uncontrolled contact” between different materials in the batteries.Thermal runaway can lead to fires, as well as “battery reignition,” even after an initial fire is put out, the safety board warned in its report. Mitsubishi Electric warns that “thermal runaway can lead to catastrophic results, including fire, explosion, sudden system failure, costly damage to equipment, and possibly personal injury.”The fire marshal’s office was investigating the fire in the crash, a spokeswoman said. Constable Herman said his department was working with the federal authorities to investigate.He said that...