Self-Driving Car Involved in Fatal Crash

by Jenny Madison | July 7, 2016

highwayLast summer, we posted a blog about the first injury accident involving a self-driving car. Although the accident caused only minor injuries, it prompted our Creative Services team to intensify our research about the possible legal implications associated with an accident of this kind. Since then, we’ve kept our creative and analytical fingers on the pulse of this emerging issue and what it all means for our clients.

Now, not quite a year later, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported the first fatality involving a self-driving car. The information about this crash is still in the preliminary stages, but the NHTSA suggests that the owner of the 2015 Tesla Model S was using the car’s “Autopilot” mode. The car did not apply its brakes when the system’s cameras couldn’t differentiate between the white side of a left turning tractor-trailer and the brightly lit sky. As a result, the vehicle passed underneath the truck’s trailer, and the collision claimed the life of the driver.

This is extremely unsettling news. And there is now a serious debate about the safety of self-driving features. Many question whether drivers should be accessing autonomous car technology at all at this stage. As federal regulators continue to progress toward clearer guidelines for self-driving vehicles and as this tragic case unfolds, we’ll keep you posted on all fronts. We understand that as self-driving technologies advance, trends in auto accidents will shift. And you can count on us to adjust our advertising accordingly.

Stand by for important updates on this controversial topic. And in the meantime, we hope everyone stays safe out there.