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Over-the-Air Updates May Change NHTSA Auto Recall Procedures

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jan 24, 2017 in Auto Accidents

new safety technologyThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering making changes to its procedures involving auto safety recalls due to the rise of over-the-air update technology in new vehicles.

The NHTSA’s consideration to re-evaluate its procedures concerning safety recalls comes after it ended the investigation into the death of a Tesla driver who was killed in May 2016 due to a suspected error made by a Model S Autopilot feature.

Tesla denies that a defect in the vehicle’s Autopilot feature was what caused it fail to apply its brake and turn into a tractor-trailer truck.

Instead, the company insists that the driver had his hands partially on the steering wheel and that the vehicle’s self-driving feature had already turned off. Model S drivers are now issued a warning that states they must have their hands on the steering wheel at all times when using the Autopilot feature.

The NHTSA’s investigation into the Tesla Model S Autopilot error concluded that the over-the-air updates Tesla made following the accident saved the automaker from having to recall all vehicles equipped with this feature.

Over-the-air updates enable automakers to fix errors in self-driving systems or software related issues in a vehicle’s system remotely, without requiring the owner to bring the vehicle to a dealership or garage.

NTHSA officials have acknowledged that Tesla’s utilization of over-the-air updates addressed concerns the administration had over self-driving vehicles and that if more auto manufacturers were to install this technology in new model vehicles, it would spare them from costly recalls.

The NHTSA will address whether over-the-air technology will affect recall procedures as it develops the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, a 15-poit guideline that will provide future regulations for self-driving vehicles.

Although innovations in vehicle safety technology will decrease accidents in the future, motorists are still responsible for practicing safe driving behaviors while operating a vehicle. Drivers who cause an auto crash that results in injuries or death can be held liable for their negligence. Contact our Phoenix car accident attorneys to learn more about filing a claim that could help you receive compensation.

Call 1-800-706-3000 to speak with an attorney about filing a car accident claim.

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