NHTSA and Tesla Guilt – Past, Present and Future

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Consumer Watchdog is calling on President Obama, DOT, NHTSA and Tesla to do the right thing for safety.  Keep their hands on the wheels and eyes on our future for safety from pain – not on the revolving door and private gain.

“Consumer Watchdog Exposes Robot Car Weaknesses At Symposium; Calls On Tesla To Update Software & Carmakers To Accept Legal Responsibility, Asks Feds To Go Slow

SAN FRANCISCO, July 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Consumer Watchdog today called on Tesla to require, through a software update, that the driver’s hands remain on the steering wheel when Autopilot is engaged, and for the Obama administration to slow its push to deploy self-driving robot car technology.  The group also called on Tesla and other carmakers to accept legal responsibility when their self-driving technology causes a crash.

The nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group brought a large white truck to circle outside the Union Square Hilton Hotel where the Automated Vehicles Symposium 2016 is being held this week. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator Mark R. Rosekind are to speak at this week’s Automated Vehicles Symposium and are expected to release industry-friendly “guidance” for robot cars, which give the public no opportunity for comment or scrutiny.

The white truck highlighted the shortcomings of Tesla’s Autopilot, which could not distinguish between a white truck making a left turn in front of the car and a bright sky in a fatal crash in Florida that killed former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown.  Consumer Watchdog’s truck had large signs reading “Tesla Don’t Hit Me!” and “Obama Speed Kills.”

View and download a photo of the truck here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/images/teslatruck071816sm.jpg

Consumer Watchdog proposed reprogramming Tesla’s Autopilot software to require the driver’s hands on the wheel in a letter sent today with former NHTSA Administrator Joan Claybrook to Tesla Chairman Elon Musk and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.  The letter also called for automakers to accept legal responsibility and for NHTSA to abandon its voluntary guidelines and adopt enforceable standards. Read the letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrmuskrosekind7-18-16_final.pdf”

“We are deeply concerned about the failure of Tesla and NHTSA to accept responsibility for the death of Joshua Brown, a death that is not the result of human error, but of the failure of technology and acceptance of a voluntary industry agreement by the government in lieu of minimum mandatory safety performance standards,” Court and Claybrook wrote.    

“The tragic fatal Tesla crash in Florida demonstrates the need for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards rather than voluntary guidelines. Not only did the Tesla S’s video camera fail to distinguish a white truck from white sky, but its automatic emergency braking system failed to apply the brake with a tractor-trailer stretched across the road right in front of it.”  The letter noted that NHTSA had denied a rulemaking proceeding for safety standards for automatic emergency braking that may have created enforceable standards for radar range that could have prevented the death.”

See release at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/consumer-watchdog-exposes-robot-car-weaknesses-at-symposium-calls-on-tesla-to-update-software–carmakers-to-accept-legal-responsibility-asks-feds-to-go-slow-300300071.html

Will Obama, Foxx, Rosekind and Musk keep their hands on the wheels and their eyes on our future safety?  Or will the American people suffer more pain – because their eyes are on the revolving door and private gain?

President Obama, Secretary Foxx, Administrator Rosekind and Tesla’s Elon Musk can’t talk with Joshua Brown the Tesla underride crash victim.  But they can talk with Marianne Karth for first hand knowledge of underride tragedy.  See http://annaleahmary.com/  And they can talk with Claybrook and Court on safety governance.  Will they or won’t they?  If not, why not?  That is the question the American people should be asking.

Lou Lombardo
____________________Lou Lombardowww.CareForCrashVictims.com

Leave a Reply