Driver Who Had Tesla on Autopilot in Crash Faces Manslaughter Trial

  • A Tesla driver is facing trial on two counts of vehicular manslaughter, Fox Business reported.
  • The driver had a hand on the steering wheel in the crash in which two people died in 2019.
  • The Tesla driver was using its Autopilot features when the crash occurred in Los Angeles.

A Tesla driver who had his car on Autopilot in a crash that killed two people will stand trial on two counts of manslaughter in Los Angeles, Fox Business reported. 

The fatal accident in 2019 occurred when Kevin George Aziz Riad, 27, was driving a Tesla Model S at 74 mph in Gardena, Los Angeles.

The Tesla driver, who previously pleaded not guilty, will go on trial for vehicular manslaughter. The case may be the first time a driver is facing a court trial for using semi-automated technology in a fatal crash.

Riad’s car went through a red light and crashed into a Honda Civic in a collision that killed Gilberto Alcazar Lopez, 40, and Maria Guadalupe Nieves-Lopez, 39, the report said. 

Prosecutors said the Tesla’s Autopilot features including autosteer and traffic aware cruise control were being used when the driver crashed into the Honda.

Six minutes before the collision, no brakes were used, crash data showed. But sensors appeared to show that the driver being tried for manslaughter had a hand on the steering wheel, according to a Tesla engineer who testified. 

The driver will now be tried on two counts of vehicular manslaughter, according to a Fox 11 LA report.  Riad and a female passenger in the Tesla were treated for injuries in hospital.

A number of car crashes have been recorded while drivers used Tesla Autopilot functions, and the first self-driving-related death was recorded in 2016. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is examining a dozen crashes that involved Tesla drivers using Autopilot features amid scrutiny over its advanced driver-assistance functions.

Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features need “active driver supervision”, does not make the car autonomous, and is intended for “fully attentive” drivers, the company says on its website.  

Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

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