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Tesla driver first to be charged in fatal crash involving Autopilot

A Tesla driver involved in a fatal wreck in California over two years ago while using Autopilot has been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter.

The charges against limousine service driver Kevin George Aziz Riad, 27, represent the first felony charges in the US for a deadly crash involving a motorist who was using Tesla’s popular partially automated driving system, the Associated Press reported.

Riad was allegedly behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S that careened off a freeway in the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena, blew a red light and struck a Honda Civic in December 2019.

Two occupants in the Civic, Gilberto Alcazar Lopez and Maria Guadalupe Nieves-Lopez, were killed.

Los Angeles County prosecutors filed the charges against Riad in October, though they just came to light last week.

Maria Guadalupe Nieves-Lopez was a passenger who was killed in the tragic accident.
Dignity Memorial
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The charges against the driver are the first felony charges in the US for a deadly crash using Tesla’s popular partially automated driving system.
AP

Other counts have been filed in the US involving automated driving systems, but Riad’s charges are the first connected to Tesla’s widely used Autopilot technology.

Autopilot can control steering, speed and braking. An estimated 765,000 Tesla vehicles in the US are equipped with the technology.

Numerous crashes involving Autopilot are being investigated by the NHTSA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Tesla car
The driver, Kevin George Aziz Riad was behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S.
Getty Images

Since the Autopilot crashes began, Tesla has updated the software to try to make it harder for drivers to abuse it.

Tesla has warned that Autopilot and a more sophisticated “Full Self-Driving” system cannot drive themselves and that drivers must pay attention and be ready to react at any time.

With Post wires

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