Driver in fatal Tesla Autopilot crash had seven seconds to take action

The Tesla driver killed in a crash while the Autopilot system was activated last year would have seen the tractor trailer for at least seven seconds prior to impact, according to the NHTSA investigation of the accident. This should have given the driver enough time to take “some action,” said Bryan Thomas, communications director for NHTSA, though it’s not known “whether that was enough time to avoid or mitigate the crash.”

The NHTSA investigation report called seven seconds a “period of extended distraction,” and noted that similar crashes generally had a “much shorter time” available for both the system and driver to detect and respond to a pending collision, usually less than three seconds. The report called distractions longer than…

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