Another Biker Killed by tesla utilizing automated driving mode - ABATE of Ohio

Another Biker Killed by tesla utilizing automated driving mode

April 26, 2024

Once again, Tesla is in the news and there is tragic news for bikers. A fatal crash involving a motorcyclist and Tesla near Seattle, WA, made national news when the driver of the Tesla admitted the incident occurred while the Tesla was operating in “autopilot” mode. According to the police report, the driver looked down at his phone, “ the next thing he knew there was a bang and the vehicle lurched forward as it accelerated and collided with the motorcycle in front of him,” killing the motorcyclist.

When will policymakers wake up and realize lives are at stake?

Just last week, a group of six (6) U.S. Senators sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on this exact topic. The letter, led by Ed Markey (D-MA), outlined several growing concerns with this new technology. The letter dated April 18th states,

“We remain concerned that Autopilot, and features like it in other vehicles, could lead drivers to become overconfident and distracted, putting them and other road users at risk.”

We at the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) wholeheartedly agree! For years bikers have sounded the alarm about the deployment of these vehicles on our roadways.

During meetings with NHTSA, the MRF has complained about the marketing of these vehicles, which can lead to disastrous results like the one seen in Washington State. It appears that some in Washington, D.C. are starting to take notice. The letter also points out that,

“Drivers who utilize partially automated systems often become distracted or unaware of road risks due to overconfidence or overreliance on the system. In fact, many consumers are confused about or misunderstand the limits of partially automated driving systems, sometimes due to manufacturers’ misleading names for these systems.

Thank you to Senators Markey, Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Peter Welch (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for raising these issues with NHTSA.

The MRF is working on a similar version of this letter from lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives. Stay tuned for how you can educate your member of Congress on this issue.

Let’s not forget what former NHTSA official Missy Cummings said last year, “It’s very dangerous for motorcycles to be around Teslas.”

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