CAR MAKER Tesla has narrowly avoided a recall of its vehicles after the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) closed an investigation into a fatal crash in which a driver died.
The incident occurred in May 2016, when a driver, Joshua Brown, hit the back of a tractor trailer. The investigation found the car was in autopilot mode at the time and that no action had been taken by the car or the driver to avoid impact.
However, the investigation also found that the driver should have been able to see the back of the tractor trailer into which he crashed for at least seven seconds before impact.
"The Florida fatal crash appears to have involved a period of extended distraction (at least 7 seconds)."
As such, the NHTSA said it is clear the driver was not paying enough attention to the road while in autopilot mode.
Despite this, it said manufacturers of cars with self-driving features, including Tesla, need to do more to make customers aware of the fact that autonomous driving does not remove the need to remain alert and engaged with the road ahead.
"Although perhaps not as specific as it could be, Tesla has provided information about system limitations in the owner's manuals, user interface and associated warnings/alerts, as well as a driver monitoring system that is intended to aid the driver in remaining engaged in the driving task at all times," it said.
"Drivers should read all instructions and warnings provided in owner's manuals for ADAS technologies and be aware of system limitations."
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk welcomed the report, saying it was "very positive" in a message on Twitter.
Report highlight: "The data show that the Tesla vehicles crash rate dropped by almost 40 percent after Autosteer installation."— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 19, 2017
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