The Latest: Truck firm in Tesla crash had safety violations


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the first reported death of a motorist using self-driving technology (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

Federal safety records show that the truck company involved in the crash that killed a motorist using self-driving technology was involved in seven citations during four traffic stops over the past two years.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records don’t identify drivers by name, but they show that the driver for the trucking company Okemah Express was ordered off the road in January after being cited by a Virginia state inspector for being on duty more than the legal limit of 14 hours in one day.

Okemah’s driver was also cited for failing to obey a traffic control device in March and an improper lane change in December. And an inspection last year found the truck’s tires were going bald.

Sixty-two-year-old Frank Baressi of Palm Harbor, Florida, is the owner of Okemah Express. The company has one truck and one driver, Baressi himself. Authorities say he was at the wheel in May when the truck collided with a Tesla Model S vehicle in “autopilot” mode.

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5:30 p.m.

BMW plans to sell self-driving cars by 2021, despite concerns raised by the recent crash of a Tesla operating on autopilot.

The German automaker says it is partnering with chipmaker Intel and Israeli firm Mobileye to bring autonomous vehicles to the market in five years’ time.

U.S. authorities are investigating the death of a driver whose car was in self-driving mode when he crashed May 7. His Tesla Model S was operating on “autopilot” when it hit a truck in Florida.

BMW chief executive Harald Krueger said at an event in Munich on Friday that the crash shows the technology behind autonomous driving isn’ mature yet.

He says the company’s goal for a completely self-driving car — dubbed iNext — “is 2021, but security is a priority.”

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2:03 p.m.

Neighbors of an Ohio man killed while operating a self-driving car say he bought the Tesla Model S within the past year and loved showing it off.

Richard Tichenor said Friday that Joshua Brown was “like a little kid” when he got the car.

Brown died on May 7 in Williston, Florida, becoming the person killed in a U.S. wreck involving a car in self-driving mode.

Neighbor Krista Kitchen says Brown took meticulous care of the Tesla and enjoyed seeing what it could do.

She says he also wanted to make sure the car was safe.

A former employee of Brown’s said they rode together on out-of-state work trips, including to Florida. Stan Staneski says he saw Brown’s affinity for going fast but always considered him a very safe driver.

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11:48 a.m.

Records show a man killed while operating a self-driving car had gotten eight speeding tickets over six years.

The records obtained by The Associated Press show Joshua Brown was cited for speeding seven times in Ohio between 2010 and 2015 and once in Virginia.

The records show the 40-year-old Brown was cited most recently for driving 64 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone in northeastern Ohio last August.

Terri Lyn Reed is a friend and insurance agent in northeastern Ohio who insured Brown’s business. Reed said Friday he was always up for an adventure and loved motorcycles and fast cars.

Reed says Brown “had the need for speed.” She describes him as “kind of a daredevil” who loved the excitement, loved speed and had no fear.

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10:20 a.m.

Relatives of the Ohio man who became the first U.S. fatality in a wreck involving a car in self-driving mode say they hope information learned from the tragedy will lead to more innovation and safety improvements.

The family statement released Friday through a personal injury law firm says 40-year-old Joshua D. Brown was passionate about technological advancement. The Canton man was so enamored with his Tesla Model S sedan that he nicknamed the car “Tessy” and praised the safety benefits of its sophisticated “Autopilot” system.

He was killed May 7 in Williston, Florida. Statements by the government and the automaker said his car’s cameras failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn’t automatically activate its brakes.

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4 a.m.

The fatal crash of a high-tech car set on “Autopilot” is a crash that auto industry knew was coming but still feared.

Now the fatal crash of a Tesla Motors car could add to the public’s apprehension of driverless cars even before they reach the road in big numbers. Most major automakers and technology companies, including Google and Uber, are working on fully autonomous cars, and have worried that a highly publicized crash could hurt those efforts.

An Ohio man was killed in Florida in May when the cameras on his car didn’t distinguish the white side of a turning tractor trailer.

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3:20 a.m.

A driver so enamored of his Tesla Model S sedan that he nicknamed the car “Tessy” and praised the safety benefits of its sophisticated “Autopilot” system has become the first U.S. fatality in a wreck involving a car in self-driving mode.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the driver’s death Thursday, and said it is investigating the design and performance of the Autopilot system.

Forty-year-old Joshua D. Brown of Canton, Ohio, the owner of a technology company, was killed May 7 in Williston, Florida, when his car’s cameras failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn’t automatically activate its brakes, according to statements by the government and the automaker. Just one month earlier, Brown had credited the Autopilot system for preventing a collision on an interstate.

Sixty-two-year-old Frank Baressi, the driver of the truck and owner of Okemah Express LLC, said the Tesla driver was “playing Harry Potter on the TV screen” at the time of the crash and driving so quickly that “he went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him.”

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