By on July 27, 2016

2013-Tesla-Model-S-Rear

The National Transportation Safety Board didn’t assign any blame in its initial report into the fatal May 7 crash of a Tesla Model S, but did confirm new details.

The agency claims Joshua Brown’s vehicle was in Autopilot mode at the time of the crash, and was travelling above the 65 mile per hour speed limit before colliding with a tractor-trailer, according to Reuters.

Both the NTSB and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are investigating the crash, billed as the first fatality involving a self-driving car. Much of the investigation’s focus is on what role the semi-autonomous Autopilot system had on the crash.

According to the NTSB’s findings, the Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer lane-keeping system on Brown’s vehicle were activated at the time of the crash. Tesla admitted that the vehicle’s Autopilot didn’t recognize the truck as it crossed the highway in front of Brown. The bright sunlight reflecting off the side of the trailer confused the system.

Besides that, the preliminary report found that Brown’s vehicle was going 74 miles per hour. While it’s above the speed limit on that highway, many drivers set their cruise control to nine miles per hour over the limit to make time and avoid speeding tickets.

An NTSB official said speeding could have contributed to the crash, but isn’t the cause. A full report is due a year from now.

The collision sheared off the top of Brown’s Tesla, which traveled 297 feet after exiting from underneath the trailer. The Model S then hit a power pole, snapping it, before coming to rest 50 feet away. Truck driver Frank Baressi claimed he heard the movie Harry Potter playing in the wreckage, but police said the portable DVD player and laptop found in the car weren’t running after the crash.

Baressi hasn’t been charged by Florida police.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

221 Comments on “Driver in Fatal Tesla Crash was Speeding While on Autopilot: NHTSA...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I think most of us wouldn’t describe 74 mph as ‘speeding’ in the classic sense, but would only in the technical sense.

    The NTSB official is correct (IMO) that speeding isn’t the cause.

    • 0 avatar
      DukeGanote

      Speeding has only two senses:
      1. Exceeding the posted speed limit, which is how most *tickets* get handed out on multi-lane highways (most such highways are _way_ under-posted).
      2. Exceeding conditions, such as a 35-mph curve in the rain on two-lane rural roads… Which account for most speed-related *crashes*.

      Got it? Most speeding crashes on two-lane roads, most tickets on superhighways.

      I still remember a Florida Highway Patrolman, back in the dark days of the double-nickel, who said in effect: “we spend all our time patrolling the interstates, except when we’re clearing up crashes on other roads.” No one else seemed to notice the disconnect.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s funny. I’d definitely say 9 MPH over is enough to get a ticket, even on the interstate. What’s that old saying police officers use? “Five, you’re fine; nine, you’re mine.”

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I don’t disagree, really.

        But beyond the binary definition of “posted limit +1 mph = speeding”, true ‘speeding’ is a spectrum whose upper end might be called ‘reckless’, ‘dangerous’, or ‘deadly’. This guy wasn’t anywhere close to those definitions, IMO.

        74 mph is what anyone might do momentarily just to pass another car.

        • 0 avatar
          DukeGanote

          In fact many “speed related” crashes occur at less than the speed limit. An example of such on an interstate is a truck ramp-rollover. The posted speed limit has near zero relationship to actual driving conditions.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The truck was required to yield the right of way. The speed of the oncoming traffic doesn’t change the fact that the truck did not have the right of way.

          The legal issue is whether the Tesla’s speed would have contributed to the truck driver’s failure to see it or accurately judge the distance. That is a difficult claim to make when the car was going 9 mph over the limit on a straight road with a clear line of sight with clear weather. The difference between 65 and 74 mph is only 13 feet per second; the truck driver should have been able to see it.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @PCH101: the truck driver should have been able to see it.

            Yeah, I think you’re right. From the NTSB prelim, the collision occurred 23 feet from the end of a 53-foot truck. So, the truck driver traveled 30 feet or so before the collision occurred. My very rough estimate is that the Tesla was within 600 feet when the turn started.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Since the Tesla driver was exceeding the limit, all bets are off. It’s difficult to judge the speed of a car coming at you. If the Tesla was passing up, or hidden in a group of “slower cars” that were obeying the speed limit, as the trucker started the turn, it makes it even harder to spot a 74 mph speeder.

            At a 2-way crossing, I pulled out in front of a highway patrolman that had the right-of-way, having to stand on his brakes. I was past the point-of-no-return when I spotted him, collision-course.

            Guess why he made no issue about it? Maybe he had bigger fish to fry, was in a happy happy mood, or maybe it was because he was doing at least 80 mph in a 55 zone when I did spotted him, no emergency lights, no code 3.

            I mean, never mind the Tesla driver was not even paying attention to traffic and might as well have been playing Solitaire in the backseat.

            The Tesla driver crashing into the end portion of the truck/trailer combination is particularly damning for him. All he had to do is let up on the throttle just a bit, perhaps down to the speed limit.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Mike, you have gotten this one wrong every step of the way. Better find another subject to screw up.

          • 0 avatar
            accord1999

            The truck driver is looking towards the crest of a hill which limits visibility. A poster at Arstechnica went to that intersection and timed it at 13 seconds for the time that a vehicle became visible to when it reached his position. Given the typical time needed for truck/trailer to make that sort of left turn, the truck driver likely did start his turn before the Tesla became visible and is supported by the spot of the crash and where the trailer was hit.

            http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?p=31538037#p31538037

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            As normal, you’ve got jacksh!t for argument on the subject. Stick to the ad hominem.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The police report indicates that the truck was traveling at 35 mph, which is 51 feet per second.

            That speed would suggest that the truck did not stop.

            The truck should have been able to clear the intersection with room to spare in about 5 seconds. The road is 132′ wide, and the truck began its turn from a left turn lane located in the median close to the center of the roadway.

            The Tesla traveling at 74 mph would have traveled about 540 feet in five seconds. That is far less than the 13 seconds of line of sight claimed in the post (assuming that the post is accurate.)

            What’s more likely is that the trucker didn’t bother to stop or to check properly for traffic. He just didn’t want to wait.

            To put it another way, if the line of sight is so bad that a car can’t avoid a fatal collision at 74 mph, then the speed limit would have been set below 65 mph, since near-misses aren’t desirable, either. The traffic engineers saw no apparent hazard that called for that kind of speed reduction, so don’t assume that there was one.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            How many times could the Tesla have stopped in 500+ feet? The truck is at least 12′ tall, far taller than most cars, so regardless of slight dips or risers in elevation, 1000+ ft of visibility isn’t out of the question here.

            At 35 mph, the trailer’s tail would have cleared the remaining lane in a flash, had the Tesla just taken 1/2 a second longer to get to the point of impact. That’s basically letting up on the throttle, just a hair, from the moment the truck started the turn. Not even any need for actual braking on behalf of the Tesla driver. Zero.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Mike, please go to the DMV and surrender your license.

            You aren’t supposed to start a turn unless it can be completed safely. Other drivers who have the right of way do not have a legal obligation to avoid hitting you when you do something stupid (which I presume in your case is often.)

            Starting the turn does not transfer the right of way to you. You must stay put unless you can make it all the way without hitting anything or getting hit. Part of the way is not enough.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            All bets are off once a car with the “right-of-way” is speeding, let alone paying zero attention to “driving”. The Tesla might have well been completely hidden from view, passing slower cars in the right lane.

            You kinda have to obey laws if you want the law’s protection.

          • 0 avatar
            accord1999

            I doubt Michael Schumacher in his prime could make that left turn with a truck/trailer at 35 MPH. Given the typical turning speeds of semi-trucks, I’d expect it to be closer to 5MPH.

            Most people in sedans would have trouble with a left turn at 35MPH.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            What I’ve learned today:

            Driving a rental Focus for more that a couple hours will cripple you from the waist down.

            Driving a rental Focus with the seat lowered enough to clear your hair is like sitting in a bucket inside a Cozy Coupe.

            DenverMike is an indefatigable whack job on this trucker thing.

            That’s all I got.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @accord1999: doubt Michael Schumacher in his prime could make that left turn with a truck/trailer at 35 MPH.

            The median is 75 feet wide. So, the truck had straightened out and was accelerating.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            @accord1999, I looked at the layout of the intersection and the sight lines and I agree with that 13 seconds figure. (I’ll spare everybody the math, and I do think it is at least 13 seconds of visibility if not more.) 13 seconds seems like an awful long time for an 18 wheeler to get across that intersection but I’m gonna think about it for a bit.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The police report estimates the truck speed at 35 mph.

            It’s a wide intersection on a road with a 65 mph limit. The truck didn’t stop.

            In any case, the truck did not have the right of way. I can only hope that you don’t behave like this truck driver when you’re behind the wheel — when you are turning at an uncontrolled intersection, you are supposed to wait until the entire turn can be completed safely.

          • 0 avatar
            accord1999

            @JimC2

            From what I’ve seen of semi-trucks and videos on Youtube, I think 13 second would be extremely quick for that turns, which is a 110 degree left turn onto a narrower undivided road.

          • 0 avatar
            TriumphDriver

            I’m afraid I call BS on this. You must have repeated this business about the truck driver’s responsibilities about a hundred times.
            First, the posted speed limit does not give you the right to drive at that speed regardless. If you see a sign that shows an intersection coming up you need to be aware that the intersection might not be clear for you to proceed through regardless of who has the right of way.
            Second, the driver making the turn can reasonably assume that oncoming traffic will not be exceeding the speed limit by any significant amount. Nine miles per hour over the 65 limit is a fair amount.
            You may be technically correct in your statements, but I hope to god you don’t drive like that. You are perhaps correct, but you are still dead.

          • 0 avatar
            TriumphDriver

            If I have a choice between getting in a car with you or DenverMike, I’m going with DenverMike every time. You’ll get us killed.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Enjoy having T-bones with Mike. (And I’m not referring to steak.)

            The 13 seconds stuff is BS. The truck (53′ trailer + cab, which makes it about 73′) had to get across about 29 feet of roadway (two lanes, plus shoulder).

            So the truck had to travel a whopping 103′ in order to avoid getting hit. At 51′ per seconds, that’s two seconds. Allowing enough time to avoid an “Jesus H. Christ that guy coulda killed me” moment, that’s five seconds.

            If you can’t finish your movement, then you don’t start it. If you can’t figure that out, then don’t drive.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “Second, the driver making the turn can reasonably assume that oncoming traffic will not be exceeding the speed limit by any significant amount. Nine miles per hour over the 65 limit is a fair amount.”

            I respectfully suggest that a competent, professional truck driver should have the defensive driving skills and wherewithal to account for oncoming traffic going 9mph over the limit. Plenty of people drive that fast in Florida and elsewhere.

            The truck driver either didn’t see the Tesla when he reasonably should have, or he is really lousy at judging distance and closure (strong possibility IMHO), or he did see it and he made a decision to shoot the gap anyway. Have another look in one of the linker TTAC articles, this guy wasn’t exactly up for “driver of the year.”

            Note that I’m not suggesting that the Tesla guy is off the hook or that he gets none of the blame (or rather his estate).

          • 0 avatar
            accord1999

            I don’t believe it’s possible to make that turn in a truck/trailer at anywhere close to 35 mph. The G force at that speed for that tight of a turn is simply too high and would have caused the trailer to rollover.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “So the truck had to travel a whopping 103′ in order to avoid getting hit. At 51′ per second, that’s two seconds.”

            Pch101, you and I agree that the truck driver badly screwed up and he bears most of the blame.

            Still, I think you might be putting a bit much credence into that 35mph estimate of the trucker’s speed. If we estimate him going half that fast, then that was still plenty of time and it doesn’t change the outcome, but look at the math with some plus-or-minus.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “The G force at that speed for that tight of a turn is simply too high and would have caused the trailer to rollover.”

            You’re assuming he stayed on the paved surface. I wouldn’t be surprised if he dragged the trailer through some of the grass median or his left turn looked more like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It makes no difference if the truck was traveling 1 mph and was powered by a tortoise.

            You don’t begin a turn unless you can complete it. Period.

          • 0 avatar
            NickS

            DenverMike, thanks for being a true gentleman, and for keeping it civil. Ad hominem is tedious.

            @PCH — if you had a point, it got lost in the absolute black and white treatment that the trucker was at fault, and ending it there.

            What exactly is the purpose of these statements?

            > Mike […] Better find another subject to screw up.

            > Mike, please go to the DMV and surrender your license.

            > when you do something stupid (which I presume in your case is often.)

            Making these kinds of statements says a lot more about you than about anyone you are trying to put down.

            >So yes, I have every reason to believe that Mike sucks as a driver. He obviously has a lot of empathy for this truck driver who committed a homicide, and I can guess why.

            Now you are just exaggerating.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The legal liability is clear.

            Or at least it should be. Honestly, I would be worried about driving around most of you. The right of way is not determined by your boredom or impatience, or whether you are in a hurry, or whether your vehicle is bigger than the other guy’s.

            At an uncontrolled intersection, only one vehicle has the right of way. If you are the vehicle that is turning, then that somebody isn’t you.

            If you have a license, then you should already know this. If this is a mystery to you, then you shouldn’t have a license, because you are an accident waiting to happen. Mike adamantly refuses to believe this even though the law and the facts of this case have been presented to him.

            So yes, I have every reason to believe that Mike sucks as a driver. He obviously has a lot of empathy for this truck driver who committed a homicide, and I can guess why.

          • 0 avatar
            accord1999

            The left turner is not always at fault legally; it just seems that way because they usually are at fault or it would take too much effort to get enough evidence to say otherwise.

            I’d expect that a proper reconstruction of the accident would clear the truck driver of any responsibility for the accident because he met the left turn standard of yielding to vehicles “which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard”. And despite nearly three months after the accident, he appears to not be even charged with a failure to yield would suggest that he might already have been cleared.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Is a car making a left turn always at fault in an accident?

            A car making a left turn is almost always liable to a car coming straight in the other direction. Exceptions to this near-automatic liability can occur if:

            > the car going straight was going too fast (this is usually difficult to prove)

            > the car going straight went through a red light, or

            >the left-turn car began its turn when it was safe but something unexpected happened which made it have to slow down or stop its turn.

            Whatever the contributing factors, the law says the car making the left turn must wait until it can safely complete the turn before moving in front of oncoming traffic…if you have had an accident in which you ran into someone who was making a left turn in front of you, almost all other considerations of fault go out the window, and the other driver is nearly always liable..

            http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/traffic-accidents-faq-29084-4.html
            ____________

            If you were hoping to make me feel better about your knowledge of the law or have more confidence in your driving skills…well, it didn’t work.

          • 0 avatar
            accord1999

            And you listed exceptions including speeding which is hard to prove but has been proven in this case. We also have evidence that the driver didn’t pay any attention to the road.

            And it looks like that’s enough to clear the truck driver of any wrong doing.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The speed has to be significant for it to be relevant.

            I’m sorry, but you don’t turn across traffic with the naive belief that everyone is observing the speed limit, and you don’t get an automatic pass to do a banzai maneuver across traffic when someone is exceeding the limit.

            The speed is relevant if it contributes to the difficulty in seeing or judging the timing of the vehicle that otherwise had the right of way. 9 mph over the limit on an open highway does not give you an excuse to turn in front of someone. If you can’t see a car traveling 74 mph in a 65 zone on a straight stretch of road in clear weather, then you weren’t paying attention.

            Left turns are responsible for a disproportionate number of vehicle fatalities; they are perhaps the most dangerous maneuvers that you can make while driving. I’m starting to see why those fatalities happen — a lot of you have no idea that you are responsible for making those turns safely.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Pch, go to sleep. Speaking truth to children is bad for your BP.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            But kids aren’t supposed to be able to get licenses. The DMV must have had a Back to School sale.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            In this case, 9 mph over the limit was the difference between life and death.

            As a driver, all you have is *perception*. A car or group of cars coming at you, 500+ ft down the road at around 65 mph, is more than reasonable time/space to get a truck/trailer combo across oncoming lanes, especially when 35 mph is doable in a truck combo, load situation.

            Although it’s not always the case, and technology being a double-edged-sword, there’s more than enough evidence here to clear the trucker of any wrong doing.

            It would be interesting to know if there was actually a Harry Potter movie in the player. Investigators aren’t denying it.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “there’s more than enough evidence here to clear the trucker of any wrong doing.”

            *thump* *thump* *thump* *thump*

            Still Going!

            *thump* *thump* *thump* *thump*

          • 0 avatar
            285exp

            If some of you folks want to blame this all or even mostly on the truck driver, because he initiated a turn in front of a car that was probably close to a quarter mile away at the start of it, have at it. In the real world, drivers do this all the time, expecting a minimally aware oncoming driver to be able to see and react to this in plenty of time, requiring just a minimal change in speed and/or simply a move to the other lane. Instead, we have a guy speeding on a non-limited access highway, and not looking up at the road for probably 10+ seconds before impact. It doesn’t make any difference whether he was watching a movie or fondling himself while thinking of Elon Musk, he was grossly negligent in using the “autopilot” feature in a way that he knew was against Tesla’s recommendation. The idiot let his car kill him.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “he initiated a turn in front of a car that was probably close to a quarter mile away at the start of it,”

            But that’s the thing- the official highway patrol report points to the car being a lot closer than a quarter mile at the start of it. (Although I take the numbers from that report with a grain of salt.)

          • 0 avatar
            285exp

            “the official highway patrol report points to the car being a lot closer than a quarter mile at the start of it.”

            The report I saw didn’t say how far away the Tesla was when the truck began the turn. There was a diagram of the scene, but it was marked that it was not to scale, and it would have been physically impossible for most of the truck to have made it through the intersection if it had been to scale with the Tesla doing 74 mph. There was no way the truck was going 35 mph when it started making the 90 degree turn either, so I’d be likely to believe the 10-13 second time frame. If you’re going significantly over the speed limit, on a road where you can expect traffic in the opposing lane to make turns in front of you at intersections not controlled by a light, and you don’t look up at the road ahead of you more often than once every 10 seconds when you’re using the autopilot, you’re grossly negligent and have nobody to blame but you when you kill your fool self.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Please don’t drive near me. Most specifically, make your left turns somewhere else.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            Pch101, we get it. Based on your analysis, no one here knows how to drive and shouldn’t have licenses, and your interpretation of the facts is the only correct one. I’m sure everyone is clear on this point now. Thank you.

            Everyone else interested in a discussion of behaviour:

            My instructor told me at Laguna Seca: “Anticipation will both save you and kill you”. This is even more true on public roads. I would wager that the majority of accidents happen when a driver takes an action that is unexpected, but also out of the norm from what “a typical driver” would normally do.

            For example, making a left turn in an urban environment with cars behind you: as you; as you begin your turn, a pedestrian runs into the crosswalk and you have to stop abruptly. Car behind you rear-ends you because they had begun their turn and were watching your vehicle, not the road in front of you.

            This is why if I’m driving on a highway with intersections, my foot is off the accelerator and hovering over the brake if I see a vehicle in a cross-traffic position at an upcoming intersection. I know *I* have the right of way. I could choose to anticipate that this driver will not go. If he does, I can even yell at him or otherwise curse that I have the right of way and they shouldn’t be going – but that won’t save my life. Only situational awareness and taking evasive action will.

            Would I be at the wrong if I slammed into the vehicle turning into my lane? Legally probably not. But that’s largely irrelevant. If I had been paying attention, the accident may have been avoided. The law is irrelevant in this situation.

            My partner routinely mocks me because I have a habit of nodding towards vehicles crossing or near my line of travel when I drive, I suppose because I am subconsciously acknowledging to myself that 1) I see them, and 2) I’m aware of the threat they may pose if they decide to cut me off.

            Never once, though, have I thought “Well, I have the right of way, I’m fine”.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Well, thanks for the strawman, but I never once claimed that broadsiding a semi was an awesome idea.

            What I’ve stated is that this truck driver is at fault. If you don’t understand how that could be, then you have no business driving.

            Left turn crashes kill. I see a lot of maniacal left turns being made out there, and I have no doubt that many of you who are posting your astoundingly ignorant comments on this website are making those kind of turns.

            You are defending the trucker because you relate to him. You drive as he drives, and you are completely unwilling to change your behavior, even if it kills someone.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            pch101, in my opinion, the only straw-man in this argument is blame.

            I appreciate you creating facts for me (like, how I drive, or who I believe is at fault), but you’ll note that I didn’t say either of these things. For someone who has spent so much time defending the “facts” of the accident report I’d like to humbly suggest that you not yet your feelings about me (or indeed, most of the other commenters here) to create facts for you.

            My point is: Who is at fault is irrelevant. There is more to an accident than responsibility. the responsibility is , IMHO, a straw-man argument designed to ignore the other facts or inferences from the information we have to suggest that the other aspects of this accident are irrelevant.

            I will declare that based on the evidence I’ve seen, I do believe that, had the Tesla driver been attentive and had appropriate situational awareness, that the accident could have been avoided – that he had enough time to react and avoid the collision. This has nothing whatsoever to do with who was at fault.

            As to your comments about me: I have, in fact, never stated my belief as to whom was at fault. I will state, however, that I would never drive as either of these individuals appear to have. I do not endanger myself or others by forcing myself into moving traffic, and I try very hard to maintain situational awareness whenever there is a risk of traffic (cross or otherwise) affecting my direction of travel. I am rarely driving alone, and I take the protection of my occupants very seriously.

            Thank you for your time, sir.

          • 0 avatar
            285exp

            The person I don’t want on the road is one who is stupid enough to let his car drive itself into a tractor trailer rig on a clear day in full light. Here’s a comment Mr. Brown made about one of his videos:

            “A bigger danger at this stage of the development is getting someone too comfortable. You really do need to be paying attention at this point. This is early in the development and the human should be ready to intervene if [the Autopilot] can’t do something. I talked in one of the other comments about the blind spots of the current hardware. There are some situations it doesn’t do well in which is okay. It’s not an autonomous car and they are learning HUGE amounts of data about the car doing the driving. I’m happy o help train it. I’m VERY curious what version 2 of the hardware will be like and what [it] will enable.”

            If he had been following his own advice he’d be alive today. His actions changed a situation that should have been, at the worst, mildly annoying to one that killed him and, had the car gone into the opposing traffic or into some innocent bystander on the side of the road after the collision, possibly others. The truck driver certainly bears a large share of the blame, but ultimately Mr. Brown did himself in, even though he knew better.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Yeah, I get it. You want the world to accommodate you so that you can make your banzai maneuvers in comfort. If you feel like going, then you’re gonna go ‘cuz it feels right.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            ““the official highway patrol report points to the car being a lot closer than a quarter mile at the start of it.”

            The report I saw didn’t say how far away the Tesla was when the truck began the turn.”

            @285exp, nope, the report didn’t say how far away and that’s why I said “points to.” But the numbers don’t add up to any where near a quarter mile.

            The truck had to cross about 25′ of lane plus 53′ (combined length of the tractor semi trailer) plus a little more when to account for the curved of the truck’s path around the turn. If he took 10-13 seconds to make that turn then it would take an average speed of 5mph- a little slow, even for a big truck making that turn. The report says 35mph (if anyone believes that detail then I have a bridge for sale…) but it’s clear that he had a running start and his average speed in the turn had to have been a lot faster than 5mph. That’s why I strongly doubt that the car was anywhere near 1/4 mile away when the truck started the turn.

            I think you and I can civilly agree to disagree whether 9mph over is excessive or not; I will say that when I drive 9 over I am alert and I expect that I will have to slow down in response to or in anticipation of what other people on the road do.

            I totally agree with you that people gotta look up at the road more often than once every ten seconds… a lot more often.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The FHP report concludes that the truck turned “directly in front” of the Tesla.

            It notes that the truck driver failed to yield right of way, while the Tesla took no action that contributed to the cause of the crash.

            I realize that our panel of internet experts with your superior driving skills know better than anyone and that the law doesn’t matter, but there you have it.

          • 0 avatar
            285exp

            No PCH, you don’t get it. I don’t make banzai moves when I drive, I actually look ahead so I can anticipate other drivers that might. Drivers like that kamikaze truck driver, who you apparently think whipped his tractor trailer rig into that turn like it was a Miata. Had Mr. Brown not had his head so far up his ass, he would have seen the truck in the turn lane before he started the turn, and if he had bothered to look up any time in the absolute minimum 7-8 secs it took for his car to close the distance to the rig, he would have had no problem avoiding it. It would be ill advised to take your eyes off the road for that long even on a controlled access interstate, to do it on a road like he as driving was stupid. Mr. Brown knew better, and his lack of attentiveness and situational awareness killed him. Every day we encounter idiot drivers, and people who would trust their lives to beta level technology are some of those idiots.

            And Jim, you’re right, we don’t know exactly how fast the truck was going when he initiated the turn, whether it was from a standing start or 5-10 mpg, but it couldn’t have been much faster because he was making a greater than 90 degree turn, and those things don’t corner like they’re on rails. Brown had plenty of time to avoid crashing into the truck, if only he had been paying attention. And I don’t think 9 mph over is terribly excessive, I’ve certainly done that and more, but I wouldn’t turn the driving over to the autopilot doing it. The faster you go the further ahead you need to look, and there’s no way that autopilot is capable of doing that at this time.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I have no doubt that you believe that you are a fantastic driver with superior skills.

            It’s just funny that you can’t figure out why a left turn that can’t be completed safely would be the responsibility of the guy who made the turn. That forces me to conclude that you are a member of this Left Turn When I Feel Like It Club. Judging from the crash statistics and what I’ve seen, your club has a lot of members.

          • 0 avatar
            285exp

            PCH, I don’t think I’m a fantastic driver, who can avoid any accident due to my fabulous skills even if I pay no attention to what is going on ahead of me. That’s why I’m alive and Mr. Brown is not.

            I also believe that you don’t think you’re a condescending twit who relies on straw man arguments because you’ve got nothing better.

          • 0 avatar
            DukeGanote

            As far as I can tell there are only two states where exceeding the speed limit legally forfeits the right-of-way. That does NOT mean anyone else automatically *gains* right-of-way based on such forfeiture. “Hey, Mabel, that guy’s doing 56 in a 55 so we’ve got the right-of-way! Pull in front of him!”

            The basic argument, as usual, is between those who argue that that speed limits should reflect the consensus of the motoring public, and those who say that the law-is-the-law even if it’s as preposterous and ponderous as the double-nickel.

            I’m one of the former, and concur that the trucker should have seen the Tesla unless it was doing a James Dean 85-mph in a 55.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I should not have to explain that turning traffic has to yield. I can only imagine the lack of driving talent that is associated with not knowing that.

            Actually, I don’t have to imagine it. One friend of mine is a lot like you guys: He sees himself as an above-average driver, and that it’s everyone else who has the problem. Echoing George Carlin, his speed is always ideal — he spends his time being passed by maniacs and passing idiots. His hobby of acquiring minor accident damage has not provided him with any epiphanies.

            I recently had the pleasure of being a passenger in his car. He proceeded to make a left turn in front of traffic that would have been tragic had something minor gone wrong. He could have avoided that risk entirely had he waited another five seconds or so, as there was no traffic behind the car that he had cut off.

            Did he know that he screwed up? As far as he was concerned, it was a perfectly safe turn. Had there been a wreck, he would have undoubtedly blamed the other driver, even with a police report that would have undoubtedly made the opposite case. He’ll never figure it out, and I’m pretty sure that most of you won’t, either.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            “I should not have to explain that turning traffic has to yield. I can only imagine the lack of driving talent that is associated with not knowing that.”

            Please show us where anyone, anywhere, said that the driver did not need to yield. For someone talking about straw-men, pch101, you’re creating a hell of one here. No comments I’ve seen have suggested that the truck driver was in the right. I have seen several that have said that it doesn’t matter, because the Tesla driver, from what we appear to know, should have reacted somehow, and didn’t.

            I’ve also seen no comment that suggested that the commenter would choose to behave as the truck driver did.

            From what I can see, *you* have implied the other respondents would behave as the truck driver did, *you* are the one suggesting that commenters have defended the truck driver, and that *you* are the only one that has equated someone’s opinion of a situation with their personal skillset, prowess, or worth as a driver.

            I’m not sure why this is so personal for you. I for one apologize if my comments or opinion have offended you personally. But I do strongly believe that someone can claim that the Tesla driver still should have reacted, even if the truck driver was doing something illegal. That is not defending what the truck driver did in any way.

            Otherwise, I don’t see what the point of disparaging other members of the B&B is supposed to accomplish, other than either blatent strawman trolling or a reaction to a personal wound from these comments (the latter of which, again, I apologize for if I have done so).

            Thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Not around here it usually take more than 10 to draw the attention of the state patrol and even then they will sometimes let you off with a verbal warning. I know I was lucky with a state patrol who was sitting in the median one night in a desolate area with little traffic at that time of night. He clocked me at 80 in a 70 but just gave me a verbal warning. Of course I have driving record that is clean for 20 years, was able to provide proof of insurance, though he hadn’t asked specifically for it and am I’m an old guy in a sedan and not a teen/20 something in a hooptie.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        I think it depends upon what the limit is. On the “Beltway” that circumscribes The Nations’s Capital, the posted limit is 55. Other than in rush hour congestion, the traffic flows at 63-65 without much activity from the police. Rush hour slows everyone down to as low as 20-25, again without any police intervention.

        On the other hand, I’ve noticed driving in the West, where speed limits are generally higher, that very few people exceed them by more than 5 mph. I’m talking about speed limits that are 75 or 80. Maybe that’s enforcement or maybe it simply is evidence that, when left alone, most drivers drive at a speed that is appropriate and comfortable for the conditions and the road.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        My rule of thumb is 10% – if I’m more than 10% over I’ve made myself a target.

        20 MPH = up to 22 MPH is OK (active school zone)
        50 MPH = up to 55 MPH is OK
        60 MPH = up to 66 MPH is OK
        65 MPH = up to 71 MPH is OK
        70 MPH = up to 77 MPH is OK
        75 MPH = up to 82 MPH is OK

        etc. etc. etc.

        Haven’t had a ticket since 1998 with this logic when applied (the one ticket I did get I spaced out on a 25 MPH and got nailed on a downhill going 40 MPH – got me fair and square)

        • 0 avatar
          Detroit-Iron

          @APaGttH

          Don’t forget that Virginia has an absolute not-to-exceed of 79 MPH, although I think the top limit is 70 so if you abide by your formula you are safe. 80 is pretty much automatic reckless driving. One of the writers for Jalopnik had to do three days in jail for going a little over 80 in a 55.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            Ontario too. 50 Kph over the limit? Roadside license suspension and vehicle seizure with a MASSIVE fine.

      • 0 avatar

        I have Waze set to warn me if I go 10% over the posted limit.

        I was speeding more than I realized I was.

        Autopilot should not allow a driver to set a constant speed that is too fast. Who is liable for accidents or tickets if the system agrees to a set speed that is too fast while it is actively controlling throttle, brakes and steering?

      • 0 avatar
        everybodyhatesscott

        If you only went 9 over on a Chicago highway, you’d get run over for going so slow.

      • 0 avatar
        ElAntonius

        In FL I believe the actual statute says that 1-4 over is a warning, 5-9 over is the minimal ticket, so on.

        That being said, there’s some officer discretion and in my experience they don’t really bother with you until 10+ over, at which point whether you get a warning, a lesser ticket, or a full ticket varies by the officer, your level of politeness, and whether you were being a jackass or not.

        9 over on a Florida interstate/highway would have grams in her buick on your tail, though. The Turnpike or I-95 will regularly see you tailgated in the RIGHT lane if you’re doing anything less than 85.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    The problem is that a car like this one invites speeding, it glides along so smoothly you don’t realize how fast you are actually going. By comparison, my noisy, 3 speed 98 Corolla begs you to go BELOW the posted speed limit. My problem is getting rear-ended.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      Now that’s true of almost any new (or well-aligned and balanced) car. First time I drove my RX8 on the highway I was amazed by how slow it felt we were going, despite doing 120KPH (the “norm” for “speeding” on 400-series highways around here).

      @SCEtoAUX: In ontario, the speed limit is 100KPH, most people go 120 in “normal” urban traffic, and 130 for longer hauls. As in the US, 120 is normally “ok” from a speeding ticket perspective (I guess like in the US, where 5MPH over is ok, 10MPH is pushing it, that’s how we are with 120/130).

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        As a Pennsylvania resident, any time I drive on 401 I stick with 100 kph (80 on country roads), with no desire to help fill Ontario’s coffers.

        Actually, I’ve become a speed limit guy ever since having an EV for a while. The Leaf’s battery hated speeding of any kind. Speed limit driving really does save gas, and speeding doesn’t really save meaningful time.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          Slowing down has a very pronounced effect on electric car range. It was very noticeable in my old Civic hybrid too, because the CVT made the gas engine operate at wide open throttle (or very near WOT). But that was because the powertrain would keep the gas engine running near peak efficiency or else not running at all. It would get ridiculously great mileage if you had the patience to pulse-and-glide at 20-30mph (through deserted neighborhoods on perfect pavement).

          In a conventional car with normal gearing, slowing down still saves gas/extends range but not nearly as much as a hybrid or your Leaf.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        Shoot, it doesn;t even have to be a car. I set my MKT at 85 MPH while driving on the freeway to Northern Michigan. I feel like I’m going slower than my C-Max at 60 MPH.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      That is one of the unintended consequences of increased ride height and the war against NVH. Ride height produces a “slower” perspective to the road, and cabin isolation mutes the road noises associated with speed.

  • avatar
    James2

    The guy was a SEAL. You would have thought he would understand the concept of situational awareness.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    The real issue here is that Tesla’s Autopilot system failed to recognize a hazard that an attentive human driver would be sure to see. That means Autopilot is not yet ready for prime time.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Correct. That’s why it’s called ‘beta’, and requires the driver’s assent to use it.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “attentive human driver”

      A what? I’ve never seen one but I guess they must exist.

      • 0 avatar
        TriumphDriver

        You may have a point in that when a task (e.g., driving) appears to become unchallenging people tend to pay less attention to it.

        I recently did a 300 mile drive towing an open car trailer with a car strapped to it. The car was a shell with no drive train and so was somewhat more prone to “walk” on the trailer, and a couple of the ratchet straps were new and stretched a bit. I had to stop and tighten all the straps.

        I don’t think I’ve ever been more alert and situationally aware than on that trip which was concluded with no problems at all. Point is, I was well out of my comfort zone and paid far more attention to driving than I otherwise would have.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      How many automatic brake systems on the market would have been able to handle that situation? Are you going to pull those systems too? Would Mazda’s or Subaru’s system handled that situation at 74 MPH? From reading those manuals I doubt it.

      I know of an individual that unfortunately does place a lot of faith in the Subaru system. This particular person has been in at least two accidents because they blacked out due to a medical condition. They manage to get their license back each time. They depend on that system to stop them if it happens again. Yes, they shouldn’t be driving and I’ve pointed out the flaws in the system, but they say it’s better than nothing. So, because this one person is pushing the Subaru System beyond it’s design limits, should it be pulled from prime time as well?

      While I think the Tesla system should stay, I think that they should require some sort of beta tester certification in a classroom. If nothing else, to burn into the owner’s brain that the system still has flaws and to be aware of them. Footage from the Florida fatal (which I suspect does exist) should be shown.

  • avatar
    gsp

    If any accident happens and the vehicle is speeding an investigating police officer would list speeding as at least one of the causes. Not sure why they would not do this here. But anyway they are likely right, the question is: would the autopilot have reacted differently if it had more time to process this situation? If not then speed is not a factor.

    • 0 avatar
      DukeGanote

      In general, blaming car crashes on “speed” is like blaming aircraft crashes on “gravity”. Without velocity there is no transportation.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        i’m okay with that. if an “event” occurred at a certain speed, we will never know if it would have occurred at a different speed. seen this way, i do think ‘speeding’ should part of the story.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Speeding on a divided highway that has left turning traffic and visibility limits would certainly be an issue.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Speed could be pretty relevant here. There’s been no discussion of the sight line of the truck driver in this case. It’s certainly possible that, had the Tesla been travelling at the speed limit, the truck driver would have seen him before executing the left turn and either not executed it or cleared the intersection before the Tesla arrived. For traffic entering a roadway, the speed of the roadway traffic has a great bearing on how safely the entering traffic can merge or cross.

        Frankly, a 65 mph speed limit on a non-limited access roadway someplace outside of the wilds of Nevada is pretty aggressive.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “Frankly, a 65 mph speed limit on a non-limited access roadway someplace outside of the wilds of Nevada is pretty aggressive.”

          Aggressive perhaps but not all that uncommon. AL 113 is 65mph, four lanes and partially divided by a grass median. But you can still make left turns across oncoming traffic and it’s not limited access- it’s fed by side roads with stop signs and farms/residences with driveways. There are other similar examples in that corner of the country…

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          I Loooove the wilds of Nevada :)

          Nothing depresses me more than seeing an entourage of European tourists in rented V8 “sporty” cars, or much worse yet sport bikes; sitting bumper to bumper on PCH between LA and SF every summer. It’s not as if Europe don’t provide plenty of driving roads at least as good.

          Yet, I’ve barely met a single one WOT on a ‘Busa or ‘Stang across Black Rock, nor on the surrounding highways. Nevada and thereabouts is what’s unique about driving in the US. As well as Moab and the Deserts for offroading. At least for those living within a day of the Alps. Not sitting bumper to bumper doing the same old thing, but at different GPS coordinates.

          • 0 avatar
            carguy67

            Agree on NV roads.

            FWIW, came a across a pack of Germans riding rented Harleys at Great Basin (I think they got your point). Only time I’ve wished I spoke German.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “a 65 mph speed limit on a non-limited access roadway someplace outside of the wilds of Nevada is pretty aggressive.”

          Arizona, California and Utah have 65 mph roads that are just like that.

          Texas has limits as high as 75 mph on rural roads, whether or not they are divided.

          In the UK, the limit on dual carriageways (divided highways that are not motorways) is 70 mph.

          Florida is pretty normal by US standards.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    In other news Mobileye terminated its partnership with Tesla today.

    I know what the headlines say – click on the links and read the story – it is Mobileye that broke up with Tesla, not the other way around.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Looks like they got into the autonomous driving market, then got cold feet when they realized the liability implications.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Mobileye will continue working with other auto and bus companies. I suspect NVidia and/or AMD has been visiting Fremont. I think NVidia would be a much better choice than Mobileye. Their system has the speed needed for an autonomous system.

        http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/05/22/better-driverless-car-stock-mobileye-nv-or-nvidi-2.aspx

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Interesting, I’ll have to look into this. I have an aftermarket Mobileye 560 system. It works very well but has no control of the vehicle. I never rely on it, as one would be tempted to do if one regarded it as 100% accurate. It’s just a safety layer.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Having now read up on this…
        Mobileye systems, including those in Teslas and my aftermarket system, do not detect vehicles approaching from the sides. I can verify that is so. They only detect vehicles in the path of travel. This does include those within lane lines on curves. But that’s it. This means they also don’t detect things you might turn into until it may be too late. Such as an oncoming pedestrian in a crosswalk you are crossing while making a left hand turn. This just isn’t anywhere nearly good enough for autonomous driving.

        Mobileye says they will rectify this deficiency in a couple of years. Moboleye may also be burdened by hardware failures. One report said Musk mentioned this. I had an earlier Mobileye C2-270 fail, an Mobileye washed their hands of it.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    “Baressi hasn’t been charged by Florida police.”

    Shocking. Plenty of FL drivers seem to think stop signs mean “stop and pull into traffic whenever you feel like it.” Driveways and left turns across oncoming traffic too.

    Tesla guy shouldn’t have had his car on autopilot going 9 over on a partially divided highway but there’s blame to go ’round.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Context matters.

    9 over on the interstate falls into “ain’t sh-t” territory.On Chicago tollways , pace of traffic is 80 mph regardless of what the signs say. Fastlane is 90-110 mph.

    A divided highway with at-grade intersections is a different story. Part of the reason interstates are safer is because it’s not possible for one slowpoke to enter high speed traffic lanes from a dead stop with the attendant consequences .

    Even five over can cut valuable reaction time away ; crest a hill booking it and you might find a truck/van/soccer mom pulling into traffic slowly. Few good things happen when traffic moving at 70 mph has to dodge around the new entrant doing 10mph.

    Roadways like that require more driver attention, not less.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    Maybe a solution to this (somewhat) is if you’re using the Autopilot, it will only work whilst doing the speed limit..or perhaps 5MPH above that.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been wondering why Autopilot would let you speed. My Garmin generally knows what the speed limit is unless it’s local back streets. Autopilot oughta stick to the speed limit when it’s activated. Seems like if the autopilot lets you set your own speed, it’s only a matter of time until some nitwit sets the cruise on 100 and takes a nap. Suicide/Homicide weapon all rolled up in one package there.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I would welcome and trust autopilot on the straight boring #1 highway from Calgary to Winnipeg. But the straight boring #2 from Calgary to Edmonton is a fricken crazy land. I think type of expressway make a big difference.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    The glare of the Sun caused the system to malfunction………….

    Those arguing the beta status of the system or a guy going 74 in a 65 are missing the point.

    The prospect of an incompetent or distracted driver is disconcerting and worrying.

    The prospect of an incompetent or distracted driver relying on an autopilot system are absolutely terrifying to me.

    The limitations of GPS and forward facing cameras and sensors are obvious. IMHO overcoming those limitations and managing the costs of a mass-market product are mutually exclusive right now. Nothing has proven otherwise.

    A system like this, with such dire and irreversible consequences, should require training on its components and operation. With autopilot the driver is really an operator and you will need to know the limitations of the system and how/why the car will respond in certain situations.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Clearly, the autopilot needs an automatic shutoff feature for things like sun glare or heavy rain. Of course, it would have to alert the driver in a loud voice, “TAKE THE WHEEL!!”

    • 0 avatar
      LS1Fan

      The problem is for most drivers, the computer -including its limitations – is a better driver then they are.

      I haven’t read anything which suggests the accident would have ended any differently with the driver in command.Yes the Tesla didn’t “see” the truck, but that doesn’t mean the owner would have either.

      I’d take an autopiloted car any day over a teenager texting with the cruise on at 80+ mph.

      Or a Lexus driver who turns right into traffic without checking their left shoulder.

      There’s a YouTube video of a Tesla avoiding an accident its owner didn’t even know was about to happen. The jolt of his car moving right to avoid a work truck that merged into his lane alerted him to the situation. The sad part is it was an easily foreseeable accident: one which would have happened had the computer not been operational.

      IMO; for the non enthusiast sort, I think a passive Autopilot should be running in the background . Much like traction control, the system should only intervene if the human is metaphorically asleep at the wheel.

      Automating every part of the driving experience IMO is a step backward. Drivers honestly need **more** investment in the cars operation, not less.

      What we should do is train drivers rigorously , and insist for teens on passive autopilot until they turn 21. With both an attentive person and computer on board crashes of negligence won’t happen as often- and for the moments people aren’t on the ball, there’s the computer as a safety net. Time will tell if that’s the road we travel on socially.

      • 0 avatar
        accord1999

        “I haven’t read anything which suggests the accident would have ended any differently with the driver in command.Yes the Tesla didn’t “see” the truck, but that doesn’t mean the owner would have either.”

        The truck/trailer had mostly cleared the highway, it would have been clearly moving for many seconds such that a attentive driver would have seen it and react to it by slowing down with plenty of room to spare.

        “There’s a YouTube video of a Tesla avoiding an accident its owner didn’t even know was about to happen.”

        It’s the same guy who was killed in this accident.

    • 0 avatar

      There is no training needed for autopilot that exceeds that necessary to pass a driver’s test.

      What is required is for a driving test for autonomous systems. Why let a car manage throttle, brakes and steering all at the same time without it having to meet a minimum standard of operation.

  • avatar
    AJ

    With autopilot, I’d probably wait to shave until I’m driving to work!

  • avatar
    doublechili

    I won’t mask my wild speculation with feet traveled per second figures, but I’ll guess that this might be what happened:

    Truck driver wanted to make a turn and saw oncoming traffic. Truck driver estimated that traffic would hit him if they didn’t drastically slow or stop, but they had plenty of time to do that and he’s in a big truck and is on the clock and they’re in little cars and are probably just joyriding. So he did what I’ve seen truck drivers do plenty of times: he started his turn and assumed they’d yield. Except one car didn’t because the technological “driver” malfunctioned and the human driver was acting like a passenger.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “So he did what I’ve seen truck drivers do plenty of times: he started his turn and assumed they’d yield.”

      Some of them do that when they want to lane change on the freeway. I think they figure the blinker and the “I can’t see my blind spots” signs give them the right to invoke the law of gross tonnage.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @doublechili: I suspect you have it exactly right.

      And I agree with you for one simple reason: No catastrophe has a single cause.

  • avatar
    Tandoor

    What gets me is that the report is due in a year. A freaking YEAR! Like they’re investigating the breakup of the space shuttle. As if there’s no urgency to decide if we’re OK with a car that allows you to drive semi-successfully with your eyes closed.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      ‘They’–Richard Feynman in particular–knew what killed the Challenger in a couple weeks. I think the Shuttle was grounded for several years.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Many safety reports take a year.

      It’s vital to determine root cause, assign blame, and provide recommendations for the future. Accomplishing all this work with limited resources and many variables at play takes a long time.

      For example, someone has to root through Tesla’s Autopilot system and figure out how it works, whether a sensor malfunctioned, what it’s limitations are, how the code is ‘wired’, and so on. Then someone else has to reconstruct traffic patterns at the time, precise weather and lighting conditions, and so on.

      Then the truck’s performance capabilities must be understood, as well as its service record and the driver’s recent history. The same will apply to the victim and his car.

      Then the police findings and coroner’s report must be reviewed, along with public and private messages about this debacle. Some of the data may also be faulty, and that must be sorted out.

      Then, with that body of knowledge, and as an investigator, what do you recommend? Charge the driver with a crime, shut down Autopilot, improve Autopilot, change the roadway design or signage, etc.?

      It’s a lot of work.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The Florida Highway Patrol already concluded that the truck driver was completely at fault, as it should have.

        The federal investigation was prompted by Autopilot’s failure to recognize that the truck was a truck. It’s quite possible that Autopilot may have not been able to prevent the crash even if it had been operating properly. But that doesn’t absolve it from not operating properly.

        • 0 avatar
          TriumphDriver

          Do you have a link to the FHP report? The only results I got were to a page tracking FOI requests to the FHP for the report. Apparently it would cost $10 to receive the report. I can’t find any direct link to it.
          I would put a lot more credence in whatever the NTSB comes out with because they are likely to be a lot more thorough than simply concluding like you are doing (and alleging that the FHP did) that it’s a case of an illegal left turn, case closed.
          The NHTSA investigation appears to be focused more tightly on the workings of the Autopilot function than the combination of circumstances that led to the wreck.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Left turns don’t have the right of way unless they are controlled by some other means, such as arriving first at a stop sign or a green arrow.

            It’s not that complicated. I am frankly stunned at how many of you don’t know basic traffic law. You should have learned this before receiving a driver license.

            The issues of whether Brown was an attentive driver or whether you are a fantastic stupendous driver who would have never been harmed by such an incident do not change the nature of legal liability.

            When you don’t have the right of way, then you don’t start your movement unless you have a reasonable expectation of safely completing it. That’s all it is. Starting the turn does not give you the right of way; you have to be able to finish it.

        • 0 avatar
          TriumphDriver

          That was the same report you cited on July 16th as saying Brown was going 65mph? If the FHP couldn’t be bothered to gather what little objective evidence exists how much trust are we going to put into that report? What sort of reconstruction of the event did they do? Simply concluding that it was all down to the trucker’s left turn is an easy out.
          I’ll wait for the NTSB report rather than your quoting the FHP report.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            What is it about right of way that you do not understand?

            And how did you get a license when you’re supposed to demonstrate some understanding of what right of way is?

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “What is it about right of way that you do not understand?”

            Pch101, the discussion is going back and forth between specifics of this crash and general stuff about traffic law.

            If a big truck starts a left turn when there is no oncoming traffic visible and he goes at 1mph propelled by a tortoise, then it is reasonable for oncoming traffic, upon approach to the intersection, to slow and/or stop for the hazard.

            If oncoming traffic is going unreasonably fast, then it is legally reasonable to *not* expect left turn traffic to account for that prior to commencing a turn. Note- I don’t think 9mph over the posted limit qualifies as unreasonably fast. 20-30 over certainly would. 1mph over falls within speedometer error and it absolutely would not qualify as unreasonably fast (my opinion).

            Highly unlikely either of these applies to this crash.

            There is also productive discussion along the lines of “you can be right and you can be dead at the same time” and other defensive driving. Try to read that stuff with an open mind. You don’t have to agree with it but please try not to reply to one question by answering a different question.

          • 0 avatar
            TriumphDriver

            What is it about accident investigations that you don’t understand?
            You have not considered where each vehicle was at the time the trucker started his turn, what the trucker’s view of the road was from his side of the highway and across the wide median, how the topography of the road might have played a role in the development of the incident and so on. All you have done is repeated your comment that the trucker made an illegal left turn. And thrown insults at anyone who doesn’t agree with your simplistic analysis.
            By your standards, all we would need to know about the Air Ontario flight 1363 wreck was that Morwood was entirely to blame for failing to de-ice the plane. I suggest you read at least an overview of the investigation to see how a proper analysis is performed. It’s pretty easy to google, just type in “Dryden accident”.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It is very clear to me why I see so much dangerous driving. All of you think that you are blessed with superior skills, yet you don’t even know the basics of who gets to go and who has to stop.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            I’ve seen first-hand an insurance company try to use speeding as a defense in a stop sign running case. They tried to say the driver did stop and didn’t have time to clear the (limited sight distance) intersection once proceeding because the car that had the right-of-way was speeding. They based it on the fact that the stop sign running car was hit towards the rear. The combination of a witness that saw the car run the stop sign and the threat to pull the medical records of the 88-year-old driver that ran the stop sign shut them up quickly. But, they did try it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m not sure why we bother to have right of way rules as we do.

            If I believe what I read on the interwebs, the guy who we dislike the most should never have the right of way because we don’t like the cut of his jib.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    A 65MPH speed limit on a road with cross traffic? That a seems high.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Depends if the sight lines are good (and they are good along that road).

    • 0 avatar
      TriumphDriver

      It isn’t a mandatory speed at which you have to drive. If there is a sign showing an intersection ahead any decent driver with an urge for self-preservation would at least consider the possibility of a vehicle making a crossing move and plan accordingly.
      The Tesla driver may or may not be legally in the right. Some have harped on about an iron-clad rule that the truck driver broke. If I’m his lawyer I am going to hammer home the speed at which the oncoming vehicle was moving and insist that it, combined with the driver’s complete inattention to the road, were the major factors in this wreck.
      Either way, the Tesla driver is still dead whether he’s in the right or not.

      • 0 avatar
        an innocent man

        >Either way, the Tesla driver is still dead whether he’s in the right or not.<

        I still remember the movie we watched in Driver's Ed, 30 some years ago:

        Don't be 'Dead' right.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @TriumphDriver: any decent driver with an urge for self-preservation would at least consider the possibility of a vehicle making a crossing move and plan accordingly.

        That’s related to the “driver intuition” issues I’ve been bringing up over the years. The ability to anticipate that the truck moving across that 75+ foot median might not stop. If the driver and the system is blinded, picking up shadows and reflections moving in a certain direction could mean that a large object is moving across your path. Sort of like in flying when you spot a shadow that isn’t yours moving across the ground. You don’t see the other plane, but you know where to start looking for it. Tracking shadows and reflections is tough for the average driver, but something that will ultimately help make autonomous systems far better than any human.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “That’s related to the “driver intuition” issues I’ve been bringing up over the years. The ability to anticipate that the truck moving across that 75+ foot median might not stop…”

          @mcs- the discussion on one of the other articles about this crash went back and forth whether the Tesla driver, an average driver, or an above average driver might have been able to avoid the crash. I maintain that an above average driver probably could have avoided it, given that the truck didn’t go from stopped to blocking the way by warping there. He would have moved from the travel lane into the turn lane several seconds before and he seems to have been moving along at an impressive clip for making that turn.

          I wonder how well the trucker maintained his brakes, considering some of the accepted numbers in the investigation- supposedly moving 35mph to make a >90 degree left turn. He had a violation for crappy brake maintenance less than two months before this crash. And he had a bunch of other violations. Click on the first TTAC link in this article, then in that article click on the link to his driving record. It’s public record for anyone to see…

          Again, I’m not claiming that Tesla guy is free of blame, but dang… Florida roads are full of blue hairs with lousy reflexes. Sooner or later I think this guy would have taken out one of them instead.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “He would have moved from the travel lane into the turn lane several seconds before”

            Not at 35 mph he wouldn’t have.

            A standard lane is 12′ feet wide. The two lanes plus a shoulder were 29′ feet wide. The truck was moving at 51′ per second.

            This can all happen in a few seconds, if not less. How do you guys think that left turn crashes happen in the first place?

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            ““He would have moved from the travel lane into the turn lane several seconds before”

            Not at 35 mph he wouldn’t have.”

            Pch101, work with me man. The left turn lane is about 500′ LONG. The truck would have taken several seconds at 35mph or at 65mph to drive the length of that lane. And before that he would have been in the travel lane. Unless he made a wide turn directly from the oncoming travel lane (left lane/inside lane) as he rolled up to the intersection.

            If Tesla guy had been paying attention, he would have seen the truck set up for the turn several seconds before he commenced the turn. And if you drive in Florida a lot, defensive driving best practices is to assume “the other guy,” who is oncoming traffic and setting up for a turn, will soon start that turn at the worst possible time.

            I see it all the time. Personally, I make it a sport to return the favor and miss them as close and fast as possible while blowing my horn and hitting my high beams. I like to think I’ve caused at least a few to poop their pants and I don’t really care if they learn to be a better driver or not. But I digress…

            Sheesh man.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Do you lock your brakes every time that you see another vehicle in an opposing left turn lane? Give me a break, I’m sure that you don’t.

            This whole thing demonstrates why “scared straight” programs don’t work. Instead of getting scared, the typical person assumes that he’s too much of a genius to ever get hurt. (“Well, ***I*** would never do anything that stupid!!!!”)

          • 0 avatar
            TriumphDriver

            Are the numbers from the FHP report “accepted”? They couldn’t get the speed of the Tesla correct. According to Pch101 the report said the Tesla was doing 65. The vehicle reported a speed of 74 to Tesla. Given that there was hard objective data for the car and they didn’t use it, would you want to simply believe a quoted 35mph for the truck?
            The purpose of an investigation ought to include trying to understand all the factors contributing, not just looking to try to hang it on “driver error” or a violation of traffic laws.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            One more time: Right of way is not determined by the speed of the truck.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “Are the numbers from the FHP report “accepted”?”

            Hahaha, nope, not “accepted” by me. You can see plenty of my other posts where you, I, and others here have suggested those numbers are a stretch.

            mcs was making a point about anticipating other drivers’ moves. I was saying that even with the numbers from that report, it was humanly possible to anticipate that the truck driver might attempt a (dangerous) turn.

            orenwolf said something about sometimes hovering his foot over his brake pedal. I do that too. I’m *positive* that we’re not the only two people from the B&B who do that.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Alas, that Tesla beta test of the autopilot was a fail. Too bad. How sad. Lawsuit city. Settle it quick and quietly.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Why a lawsuit? The driver agreed to use a ‘beta’ system, by pressing the ‘Agree’ button.

      Autopilot is a Level 2 system in beta, not a fully vetted Level 4 system. Look up the difference, and you’ll find no cause for a lawsuit.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Way to go Elon, you killed another.

    And you did it with your failed autopilot system, or the fact the car was going 74 which apparently isn’t safe to do in your failed automobiles.

  • avatar
    NickS

    a few issues:

    – paying attention is not optional. even if you are doing only 55, and relying on beta software while NOT paying attention you’ll still go under the trailer.

    – AP should not allow even 1mph above speed limit, no matter what. Not at level 2 autonomy anyway.

    – a beta should go out in the wild with only certified beta testers, not the general population.

    • 0 avatar
      quasimondo

      According to Musk, AutoPilot is not a beta release, and he only used the term to make sure drivers “don’t get comfortable” with the system.

      Whatever that means.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Why didn’t the Tesla keep going until it ran out of charge?

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    The driver of the truck should have seen the car and gauged the car’s speed (and gauged that the car was speeding). But the driver of the car should have been able to see a truck the size of a small _barn_ and at least stopped _also_ breaking the law. The driver of the truck has maybe shown bad judgement (or a mistake in judgement) but the driver of the car showed absolutely NO JUDGEMENT AT ALL.

    Answer this one Pch101:
    I’m driving down a 40 MPH road at 40 MPH. I see a person j-walking in the middle of the road … they could have walked 100 years to the intersection and crossed in the crosswalk, but they decided to cross illegally. Do I:
    (1) Continue at full speed and run the person over. After all, they were breaking the law.
    (2) Take my foot off the gas, pay attention, make note of my surroundings, etc. Try to determine if that person sees me and is going to get out of the way by the time my car gets there. Prepare to possibly have to stop. And… if necessary, come to a complete stop EVEN THOUGH I HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY.

    Pch101 goes with (1) and then goes to jail.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      (3) Drive past with the windshield washers spraying and horn honking. You’ll get the person’s attention and they’ll smell like windshield washer fluid afterward. Bonus points if you use the cheap fluid with a strong ammonia smell. That stuff stinks!

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      SunnyvaleCA:

      I used to have a boss who, whenever we had an outage at work, would immediately DEMAND to know who did this and why, and HOW this happened. He’d do this almost to the point, it would seem, of forgetting that priority 1 isn’t about assigning or assessing blame, but in actually *dealing with the situation at hand*.

      “Blame” matters to lawyers I suppose. For (most of the rest of us), I’d assume staying alive and aware enough to react to situations should, probably, take priority.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      If you hit the pedestrian in that scenario and did so unintentionally, then you aren’t going to be liable.

      Obviously, it would be a good thing to not hit the pedestrian. But that is a separate issue from liability.

      Incidentally, those who kill pedestrians often receive little or no punishment, even when the driver is at fault. This story from Florida is similar to what you’ll find throughout the US:
      ______________

      “Drivers who hit pedestrians often get little or no jail time”

      From 2007 through 2012, 5,700 pedestrians have been struck in Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties, including 333 who were killed and 889 who suffered what police call “incapacitating injuries.”

      In the vast majority involving deaths or incapacitating injuries, pedestrians were found at fault: They walked into traffic.

      But in one of every five cases, police thought the drivers were at least partially at fault, according to an Orlando Sentinel review.

      Most at-fault drivers — almost eight of every 10 — got traffic tickets: for speeding, running red lights, failure to yield or, most commonly, careless driving, which has a $166 fine. Unless there are unusual circumstances, there are no additional legal penalties for the careless driver who hits a pedestrian, even if the person dies.

      http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pedestrian-deaths-central-florida/os-pedestrian-enforcement-20130709-story.html

      • 0 avatar
        SunnyvaleCA

        I’m not completely convinced the truck is in the wrong at all. There are areas out here in farming areas of California where speed limits are reduced and giant warning signs proclaim the potential danger of farming trucks. “Share the road” and “beware cross traffic” and that sort of thing. In this case, maybe it _IS_ required that cars slow down and share the road. Just because the maximum speed is 65, doesn’t mean you have a right to go that quickly in all circumstances. You certainly have to reduce speed due to reduced visibility or reduced traffic. Maybe you need to reduce speed because of cross traffic or other traffic conditions? Maybe that was the situation here?

        I did a bit of digging about acceleration and clearing intersections for semis. Check out page 17 of this PDF: http://nacto.org/docs/usdg/physical_and_perfromance_characteristics_heavy_vehicles.pdf

        If I’m reading correctly, there’s a graph labeled “Field observations of times for 19.8-m (65-ft) tractor-trailer trucks to clear intersection distances after starting from a stop.” It shows 12 seconds allows one to clear about a 40 foot intersection. So we have the front of the cab moving 65+40 = 105 feet in 12 seconds when going straight through.

        I’m using 12 seconds because the car was likely speeding and so the 13 seconds is probably reduced to 12 if the car isn’t even going to slow down to the speed limit upon seeing an obstruction nearly as large as a barn.

        Also, maybe truck didn’t stop right at the edge of the intersecting highway. Maybe it stopped 5 feet short. (Which would make a lot of sense to me if traffic is speeding by at 65+ MPH.)

        Since the truck is turning, maybe the truck only moved 90 feet during that 12 seconds instead of 105. But wait… that’s the _font_ of the truck. It’s turning, so the back moves more-or-less in a diagonal line while the front moves in an arc. So while the front moves in a 90 foot ark the back end might only have moved 60 feet. The back end of the truck starts 65+5 feet behind the intersection, so it is still 10 feet behind the starting line after 12 seconds.

        How about this scenario…. Truck comes to a complete stop, sees nothing at all, starts making turn. Car comes along at quite a bit more than the speed limit (and maybe even a bit more than 9 MPH over) and makes no attempt whatsoever to even slow down to the speed limit upon seeing an obstacle nearly as large as a barn in the middle of the road. Car decides to ram another vehicle on the road …. which is illegal (for the car).

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The law on right of way is very clear. Again, please don’t drive me near me, as I can only assume that you are also fond of turning left whenever it suits you instead of when it is legal and safe to do so.

          Secondly, I’ve already shown you the math: at 35 mph, the truck should have been able to get across two lanes and a shoulder in two seconds.

          Thirdly, the math is ultimately irrelevant. Even if it needed longer, it makes no difference — the truck still did not have the right of way. If you can’t finish a turn safely, then don’t start making it.

          But you should rejoice, as the trucker is likely to get away with killing a man. It’s unusual for those who use their vehicles to kill others to be charged. He may have trouble getting insurance, so his trucking days may be over, but he’ll be living a lot longer than the guy who he killed.

          • 0 avatar
            SunnyvaleCA

            “If you can’t finish a turn safely, then don’t start making it.”

            Well, I’m honestly having a hard time believing the truck was doing 35 MPH while making a 105-degree turn.

            I think the situation I outlined above, where the truck stopped, saw nothing, and then proceeded at a pace expected for that type of truck when fully loaded, is also possible.

            In this case, the truck would have given the car 12 seconds to take some sort of action — any action — but the car didn’t even make an attempt.

            Here in California (and I assume in Florida too) you must never drive so quickly that you can’t stop for something blocking the road. If the truck had started up from a full stop when the road was totally clear but then had a mechanical breakdown and was just plain blocking the intersection, the truck wouldn’t fall under “If you can’t finish a turn safely, then don’t start making it.”

            In California (and I’ll bet in Florida, too), I also believe we have a law with the effect that if you can safely avoid an accident you must do so. The car in this case made absolutely no attempt to avoid an easily avoidable accident.

          • 0 avatar
            accord1999

            The law isn’t as clear as you claim it is.

            Florida follows the yield to “which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard” standard which gives some leeway to the left turner if enough evidence can be found.

            A state like California extends it even further so that “A driver having yielded as prescribed in subdivision (a), and having given a signal when and as required by his code, may turn left or complete a U-turn, and the drivers of vehicles approachingthe intersection or the entrance to the property or alley from the opposite direction shall yield the right-of-way to the turning vehicle”

            And the math for a truck making that turn at 35 mph results in a centrifugal force equivalent more than 0.5g, easily enough to flip the trailer.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            OK, the police report has the truck going 35 mph. You obviously have some inside sources that inform you that the truck was actually traveling at about 5-6 mph.

            That’s about the speed at which I jog. If I am going to jog across a high-speed highway at 5-6 mph and there is a crest of a hill that a car could reach in 13 seconds*, then I’m going to make sure that I don’t move a muscle until I see absolutely no one coming.

            Compare that to the crash report that found that the truck “turned directly in front of” the Tesla. If that truck could only go 5-6 mph, then pray tell, what on Allah’s green earth made him think that he had any business trying to turn at that point in time?

            Shouldn’t a guy who is going 5-6 mph across a high-speed road and who doesn’t have the right of way think a wee bit about doing such a thing when traffic is headed right for him, particularly when the law is not on his side?

            *I am not accepting that this claim about the terrain is true, but hey, you’ve all decided that some anonymous dude who posts unverified claims in the comments section of a blog is more knowledgeable than a crash investigator

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            accord1999: The truck wasn’t actually turning when the accident occurred. Because of the width of the median and the turn lane, by the time it started crossing the path of the Tesla, it had straightened out and was accelerating. 75+ width median, 53 foot truck – do the math.

          • 0 avatar
            accord1999

            @mcs,

            I’ve looked at the math and the acceleration ability and turn times of semi-trucks. In order for the truck to be at 35 mph when it’s leaving the highway, it still has to be at a very high rate of speed during the curve in order to reach 35 mph in that short distance where it’s straight.

            I also question why the truck, entering a narrow undivided two lane road would even be at 35 mph.

            My conclusions from the evidence and geography and crash location is that the truck driver started his turn when there was no oncoming traffic.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Er, if a vehicle is really slow, then that’s even ***more*** reason that it should have to be cautious of cross-traffic when it doesn’t have the right of way.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          @Sunnyvale, I think the over-the-road truck to farm vehicle is an apples to oranges comparison. (Or apples to grapes, nod to California agriculture there).

          I strongly suspect the sight lines at the intersection in question are a lot better than 13 seconds; that’s just the number we’re kicking around here because it’s at least that good on google street view (there is a truck parked next to the intersection and you can clearly see it 1/4 mile up the road going the way the Tesla drove).

      • 0 avatar
        SunnyvaleCA

        “If you hit the pedestrian in that scenario and did so unintentionally, then you aren’t going to be liable.”

        No. If you saw the person and did absolutely _nothing_ to prevent running them over, you might be charged with manslaughter. In some states that would fall under second degree murder.

        From https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=30970 :
        “Some states also apply the label of second degree murder to situations in which someone’s actions were so wanton and reckless that the death of another person was readily foreseeable, even if killing someone was not the intention, such as driving at speed into a crowd of people.”

        In the case of the side of a truck, someone paying even the slightest amount of attention should have at least seen the truck in time to make _some_ form of attempt at not crashing.

        If the driver of the car were suffering an incapacitating medical emergency or there were a vehicle failure I’d agree that running someone over (or crashing into a slow-moving vehicle at full speed) might merely be an accident. But neither of those situations applies here. A glitch in beta software that comes with a warning that the driver must supervise at all times does not count as a vehicle failure–that’s a driver’s “wanton disregard for safety.”

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          How did you manage to morph “unintentional” into “wanton and reckless”?

          In any case, the stats are also on my side. If you kill a pedestrian, chances are good that little or nothing will happen to you. Virtually no one goes to prison for this sort of thing. It will have to be very obvious that you meant to do it in order for you to be the exception.

          • 0 avatar
            SunnyvaleCA

            Pct writes: How did you manage to morph “unintentional” into “wanton and reckless”?

            How did you manage to morph running over a pedestrian in the middle of the road with no attempt at missing the pedestrian or slowing down into “unintentional.”

            The point is that the car was being operated in a “wanton and reckless” way in both cases.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Hanging your hat on something that pretty much almost never happens isn’t much of a point.

            Even drunk and stoned drivers end up getting away with killing pedestrians. Prosecutors are reluctant to file charges because there is always going to be one buffoon on the jury who has so much empathy for the driver that the jury will be hung or vote to acquit, and prosecutors like to maintain their conviction rates.

            We can see in the comments section of this website why that is bound to happen. There is an incredible amount of empathy for drivers who kill.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Wow! Pch has been like Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury here!

    Go Chen Zhen! You have the Righteous!

    Ancient Chinese proverb:

    Don’t turn your big ass, crawling truck onto a highway if you can see somebody coming.

  • avatar
    TriumphDriver

    @pch101:

    Have you been keeping count of how many times you have repeated your simplistic statement of right of way rules?

    I guess we don’t need any more information. Trucker made an illegal move, end of investigation, nothing to learn, move along folks. Speed of truck, speed of car, everything else, all irrelevant.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The rules of the road need to be repeated around here, since you don’t seem to know what they are.

      I realize that you are all brilliant fantastic people who would have avoided the crash, so obviously, it should make no difference that this truck driver killed a man.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        There are no criminal charges pending. The idiot, Tesla driver with suicidal tendencies put the gun to his own head and pulled the trigger.

        The FHP report is totally worthless with vague terminology. Since there’s no “auto-pilot” box to check off, they don’t want to know about it. And since the FHP didn’t have him clocked over the speed limit, it never happened.

        Just slowing down to speed limit would’ve easily saved his own life. No fantastic driving necessary, just looking out the windshield once in a while.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          You haven’t even read the FHP report. But hey, thanks for your insights.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The report is good enough for government work, and that’s it. Yeah I read it, so what? It doesn’t go into the details and topic we’re covering here. It’s not meant too.

            See the words “autopilot” and “speeding” at the top of this page?

            You want the conversation to begin and end at the point the trucker started his turn. Submit your own article.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’d love to see a link to it. Or I should say, your link to it. (I already have one. I doubt that you do.)

          • 0 avatar
            TriumphDriver

            I’ve asked you for a link to the FHP report but you have not provided one. Presumably if you read it you had a way to find it.
            The one hard fact we have from Tesla is that the vehicle was doing 74mph. According to your quote from the FHP report, it was doing 65mph. If they can’t get that fact straight, how much credibility should we attach to the speed attributed to the truck?
            We may as well wait until the NTSB report comes out for a decent analysis of the wreck. I would be very surprised if it simply concluded that it was just down to an illegal left turn.
            But if believing that makes you happy, go with it. There’s nobody on here will ever change your mind.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I obviously read the FHP crash report. I was quoting passages from it several days ago and bits of it today.

            I’ll wait to see whether Mike posts one. When he fails to do so, then I’ll provide it.

            I hope Orenwolf is reading this. There are several of you who obviously don’t understand what right of way is and why the vehicle that is turning left is almost always in the wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s obvious why you wouldn’t provide the link. The FHP crash report’s small remarks box just gets filled with a quick narrative and absolute zero analysis. We get more from any news report.

            The cop probably fills out several of these exact forms, at the end of every shift. Who cares? It’s irrelevant to the topic here.

            documents.latimes.com/tesla-accident-report/

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Congratulations, you found it. Shame that you didn’t understand it.

            Failure to yield is pretty straightforward. The Tesla had the right of way; the truck did not.

            You obviously don’t understand it, but the highway patrol knows that vehicles that don’t have the right of way cannot go unless the turn can be completed safely.

            And it’s pretty clear that you never will understand, so I will reiterate: You have no business driving, because you don’t even understand the basics. Stubborn and incompetent — not a good combination.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “Congratulations, you found it.”

            Pch101, every time you comment, the email looks like you’re talking to yourself. Is Pch101 in there? Can we talk to Pch101?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “The Model S then hit a power pole, snapping it, before coming to rest 50 feet away.”

    I’m guessing that’s actually supposed to mean the top of the pole came to rest 50 feet away, not the Tesla?

    Maybe not… have yet to see a photo of Tesla + pole.

    Edit: Yes! I’m wrong!
    That little bugger kept diggin’ in and driving forward even after the pole. Or sheer momentum.

  • avatar
    TriumphDriver

    @pch101: you seriously think that is a comprehensive study of the wreck?

    I presume you never read Moshansky’s report into Dryden. It would be a stretch for you to be honest because it examines complex combinations of events, something that you are clearly incapable of doing based on your one-note offerings here.

    BTW thanks DenverMike for posting that link, something pch101 was asked to do but didn’t. I can see why, it’s laughable in its simplicity.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      It’s hilarious. You think that right of way is so complicated that it requires some sort of masters thesis to explain it. The guy who wrote the police report realized that it was not rocket science; the truck was supposed to yield.

      Right of way rules are supposed to make it easy to know whose turn it is.

      I posted a link that explains this in simple terms.

      If you rubbed two brain cells together for a few minutes, then it would be quite obvious why traffic that is going across lanes should wait while opposing traffic on the main roadway gets priority.

      I don’t know where some of you learned to drive. I can only hope that you don’t do it anywhere near me.

      • 0 avatar
        accord1999

        The truck was supposed to yield to something that was an immediate hazard; if it did not see oncoming traffic then there was nothing to yield to.

        The primary cause of the crash was the dead driver not looking at the road for the 10+ seconds the moving truck became visible to when it crashed.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “The primary cause of the crash ..”

          Thus Spake Some Guy

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If this keeps up, then I’ll have grounds to sue the DMV for malpractice. They apparently never bothered to teach these guys the rules.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            I think a lot of this spectacular obtuseness is because some just want to oppose *you*.

            I no longer see you as Chen Zhen; you now model America’s role in the world.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The next time that you see those idiots whipping left turns across traffic, having near misses and cutting off other cars (and you know that you will see them), remember that you managed to meet some of them right here on the interwebs.

            I used to think that they were impatient and rude. Now I know that they’re actually clueless. They know not what they do.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “Other drivers can damn well adjust, I’m in the Right.”

      • 0 avatar
        TriumphDriver

        Ask yourself one thing. If this was nothing more than a failure to observe the right of way, do you think the NTSB and the NHTSA would be investigating it?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Er, it’s being investigated because Tesla’s Autopilot failed to see the truck. It’s the technology that has prompted the federal involvement.

          Fault for the crash is straightforward for anyone who has a rudimentary understanding of traffic law, which you obviously do not.

          I’m curious — do the rules at a four-way stop fill you with just as much confusion? When you see an intersection with those red octagonal signs, do you bring a battery of experts to determine which car gets to go first and are you filled with doubt due to the complexities involved?

          • 0 avatar
            TriumphDriver

            Ka-ching, another gratuitous insult from the only man who knows how to drive!
            You must be a load of fun in a bar. Until somebody gets tired of you and pokes you in the eye.
            See, posting insults is easy.
            Please tell me again how this right of way thing works,I’ve only been driving 45 years without causing an accident or getting a ticket, but that’s probably been dumb luck.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            So how do you handle this four-way stop thing? I imagine that you must have some kind of three-row crossover or minivan so that you can carry the panel of research scientists who are needed to provide you with their guidance.

          • 0 avatar
            TriumphDriver

            I drive an MGB or a Triumph Spitfire on a regular basis, my daily driver is a pickup truck. My instincts for self-preservation are pretty good and I don’t need a battery of experts to help me drive. Or any sanctimonious internet prats.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You see, here’s the thing about right of way rules: They are based upon assigned priorities, not on instinct.

            The whole idea is to make it really easy to know who gets to go and who has to wait. This is not a brain buster, it is intended to be very simple because we can’t just sort of wing it while we’re driving through intersections.

            Now perhaps this idea of left turns yielding to oncoming traffic is offensive to your tender sensibilities or your fantastic instincts, but the reality is that this is the law throughout the United States and you will be found at fault if you are in a wreck because of it.

            The Florida Highway Patrol did not have a difficult job here. The left turn is supposed to yield.

  • avatar
    Desolation Roe

    A few odds and ends. The truck was likely ~75-80′ long overall. The trailer alone was 53′.

    He didn’t start that turn at 35mph. It’s not possible. Likely 10-15 max.

    Highway 16 and 43 in Alberta have the same basic layout as the accident location. Speed limit generally 110kph. Heavy trucks make left turns all the time. Sometimes they shoot for a smaller gap in traffic than everyone would prefer, but traffic is traffic.

    If I’m driving a 4 wheeler I’m going to be paying attention. The guy driving the truck is trying to make a living so cutting him a little slack isn’t going to give me a heart attack.

    My daily driver on those roads was a 137 thousand pound liquid nitrogen tanker so I have some experience from both sides of the fence.

    Driving a non-grade-separated highway at 74mph without paying attention is dumb.

    This was effectively suicide by autopilot.

  • avatar
    dahammer

    190 comments and still going strong. Pity most of them are from a couple of guys bickering among each other. I stopped reading at about post 75.

    I recommend going to google maps and taking a look at this intersection from the frame of reference of the truck driver. There is no way in hell this guy was making a left hand turn doing 35 mph. The width of the left turn lane, the size of the opening, and the narrow width of the street he was going into would prevent this from happening.

    Second, there was a visible crest in the road from the direction of the Tesla’s travel, this would limit visibility of the truck driver. But from the height of the cab, he should have seen the Tesla. I’m surprised there is no video from the BP station. But driving 74 on this type of four lane road with cross traffic on the same grade is plain stupid. And there is no way in hell I would set it and forget it like that poor bastard seems to have done.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I never thought that I’d see the day when a bunch of alleged enthusiasts would claim that driving 9 over on a straight section of divided highway was an act of madness.

      • 0 avatar
        dahammer

        You flatter me, I drive a 98 Volvo S70, non turbo.

        I will never drive a motorcycle either because I can’t control the poor driving of others.

        I never thought I’d see the day where a retired USN SEAL with training that put him in the top .005 percentile of his branch would have more interest in watching a movie than keeping his eyes on the road.

        Can’t wait for autonomous driving cars. Check out the location of the accident and work your way west.

        US-27 ALT, Williston, FL 32696
        https://goo.gl/maps/bsHAxZyaq4x

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          You do realize that the FHP didn’t find evidence that he was watching a movie, right?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            If it wasn’t true, I doubt the trucker would claim a specific movie was playing. The Tesla guy was a little too in love with the tech. It cost him life, sorry to say.

            The FHP is playing very “I Knows NOTHING!!”, and that’s fine. It obviously keeps them out of constant repeated/repealed civil and criminal court cases as witnesses.

            But please let’s move on from what the FHP concludes or doesn’t. Such lack of information, lack reporting and even lack of simple investigating has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The cops investigated. You didn’t.

            Your hero the truck driver killed a man. He violated the law and made an illegal turn.

            Have you injured or killed someone while behind the wheel? You relate to this guy entirely too well.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yes I wasn’t on scene. Yes I didn’t investigate it, but neither did the FHP. They took measurements, figured out directions of travel, impact point, and called it a day.

            That’s not “investigating”. Anybody bystander with a pulse and a measuring wheel could’ve filled out the *form* for the FHP.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Have you figured out yet that left turns have to yield?

            Oh, I guess not.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s your opinion it was an “illegal turn”, and you’re wrong again. ‘Turning left’ against a red light is an example of an “illegal turn”, but making a left turn ‘there’ is perfectly legal. And it was perfectly safe to do so, as far as you know.

            Except now we know the Tesla driver was speeding and obviously not watching the road ahead.

            Suicide is illegal though.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            316.122 Vehicle turning left. — The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway ****shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction****.

            This isn’t rocket science, except for those who don’t know the fundamentals of driving.

            How many people have you injured or killed in a traffic accident? I’m willing to bet that the number isn’t zero.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            There was a safe break in traffic, the trucker made his turn, and it would’ve been a totally uneventful crossing, if it wasn’t for one car in the group exceeding the speed limit and not watching the road ahead, like at all.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “There was a safe break in traffic, the trucker made his turn,”

            Uh, DenverMike, seeing as the Tesla bullseyed the trailer going 9 over, I think if he had been going the speed limit then it would have been a near miss just off the back of the trailer. I wouldn’t call that a “safe break in traffic.”

            I still think the truck driver tried to shoot the gap and when it didn’t work all he has to fall back on is the “I didn’t see him/he was going too fast” defense.

            It’s like that part of The Great Gatsby (the book) when they wonder what will happen if one bad driver meets another bad driver.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “There was a safe break in traffic”

            Amazing how you happened to be astral planing at exactly that place and moment back in May.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            All anyone really has perception. Would you have perceived a hidden danger the trucker didn’t? Would you have picked out the speeder in a group of cars obeying the posted limit? Or the car flying completely autonomous-like?

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “All anyone really has (is) perception.”

            Well, my perception sure ain’t as good as yours!

            I can’t for example see an event that occurred half-a-dozen states away and almost three months in the past.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            What is it you’re not seeing? The Tesla needed lots more room than can reasonably be perceived.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Safe break in traffic = Getting broadsided.

            Yeah, that’s real smart.

            I’ve copied and pasted this again very slowly:

            316.122 Vehicle turning left. — The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway ****shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction****

            Is there something ambiguous about “shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction”? Do they need to write the law in crayon or in coloring book format for you to understand what that means?

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “top .005 percentile”

          I think you meant to say top .005 percent or top 99.995 percentile. Top .005 percentile means bottom .005 percent. ;)

          Too bad we can’t put witty memes on here (maybe that’s a good thing…).

          Good choice of car, by the way. The only problems I had with mine were the power door locks, front right wheel bearing/hub, the main electric box under the hood (the combined fuel pump + ignition fuse didn’t always make a solid electrical connection because the fuse box chassis was flimsy), and the fabric on the driver’s seat wore out. Otherwise a nice car.

      • 0 avatar
        accord1999

        Every enthusiast is going to claim that driving any road at any speed without paying attention to the road is an act of madness.

  • avatar
    TriumphDriver

    @pch101: the problem with your case here is that you are basing it on an accident report that is fairly superficial and not necessarily accurate. We know the speed of the Tesla cited in the report is a guess (which you have never acknowledged), I think it is highly likely that the speed of the truck is also nothing more than a guess. The drawing is clearly labeled not to scale and shows us nothing other than the paths of the vehicles but has no indication of the changes in their position over time so you really can’t draw too many conclusions from that sketch.

    It is possible that the truck driver was unable to see the Tesla when he started making his turn. It is possible that he did see the car, decided he could safely complete the turn but was mistaken because the car was traveling at a higher than expected speed. It is possible that he determined that as long as the Tesla slowed down the turn would be OK. It is possible he just didn’t bother looking at all. And so on. There are scenarios where the truck driver is at fault, there are scenarios where he may not be at fault.

    Your one-eyed view of the event does not admit of any of these alternative scenarios and so you simply repeat your statement and insult anyone who disagrees with you. That’s not really adding anything to the thread. I expect some sort of silly response to this post which I will ignore.

    The inquiry may be able to reconstruct the events more accurately than the FHP report, but I would expect their main focus to be on the automation aspect. It’s pretty clear that the system failed to interpret the input data. What is not clear is how the driver interacted or failed to interact with the system, whether the system gave any indication to the driver of a need to assume controland on a broader front to what degree are drivers becoming dependent on the system and using it in ways that Tesla does not intend them to. If the report is going to offer anything of use it has to look at those kinds of issues both for the sake of drivers and for the sake of those trying to develop the systems, regardless of degree of assistance provided by the system.

    Automation dependency is a significant problem in aviation (google Children of Magenta for an excellent presentation of this.) There was a piece in the Wall Street Journal this week presenting reactions of aviation experts to the incident here in question. I am not suggesting that the systems in planes and cars are in any way at the same stage of automation, but the human factors involved in introducing automation into automobiles will have quite a lot in common with those on the flight deck, excepting issues of crew resource management since we don’t generally divide driving responsibilities in a car.

    It is generally accepted that humans don’t do an especially good job of monitoring computer systems, and the sudden transition from automatic flight to manual control has caused pilots problems. It may have been a factor in the wreck in PA, it may have been a factor here. It will be interesting to read the NTSB’s conclusions.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Budda-Boom: The Tri-Five Chevies became legends not just on style, but because they were well-built, well-engineered...
  • jkross22: Why did you buy from a dealer that treated you this way? Seems to me that you rewarded the dealer’s...
  • JohnTaurus: I am not a hater, nor a Teslaphile. I wish the company well. The only thing that does annoy me would be...
  • Scoutdude: Then you haven’t been watching them. It doesn’t take more than a few pebbles in the road to...
  • brenschluss: Absolutely true. Don’t get me wrong it’s not like it’s not a fun car with a tank of...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Seth Parks, United States
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Kyree Williams, United States