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Tesla's Autopilot feature still requires drivers to be attentive

New technologies are constantly being developed that make people's lives safer and easier. However, it is important that people understand how to properly use innovative technologies, or injuries may result. One of these is the Autopilot driver assistance system in Tesla vehicles. Many drivers in Louisiana and elsewhere may falsely believe that Autopilot allows them to take their attention away from the task of driving.

In a recent incident, a California Tesla owner collided with a fire engine on the highway. Authorities say the driver had been using Autopilot at the time of the crash but were unsure whether the man had taken his hands from the wheel. Tesla officials state that the system will first warn drivers, then shut off, if drivers remove their hands from the steering wheel. Numerous accidents involving the Autopilot system have been reported, including one fatality, that have raised questions about its reliability. However, safety officials have said that the accidents were primarily due to driver error or the system's limitations, and not any malfunctions in the technology.

It is important for those who are operating new and complicated products to fully understand the requirements and the limitations of such technologies. Failing to heed warnings may not only endanger the safety of the owners, but that of others around them. There will undoubtedly be technological advances in the future that give drivers more freedom and convenience, but also a greater responsibility to know how to use new features in the way they are intended.

Source: CNBC, "Tesla on 'Autopilot' crashes into firetruck on California freeway," Robert Ferris, Jan. 23, 2018

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