Tesla Driver Playing iPhone Game During Crash; Authority Blamed Tesla & Apple

Karamchand Rameshwar - Mar 03, 2020


Tesla Driver Playing iPhone Game During Crash; Authority Blamed Tesla & Apple

Federal investigators have recently discovered that the ill-fated Walter Huang, a 38-year-old Apple engineer, who died in a Tesla car accident, was playing a game right before the unfortunate incident. And so they began to use pretty harsh words to criticize Tesla and ... Apple.

Tesla Driver Driving Playing Iphone Game Authority

Specifically, the National Traffic Safety Board on Tuesday held a hearing around the car accident in March 2018. In the hearing, Chairman Robert Sumwalt made it clear that Tesla must explain more clearly how the self-driving part of the system works.

"You can't buy a self-driving car," Sumwalt said at the beginning of the hearing.

Walter Wang's family sued Tesla after his Model X hit a barrier on the highway. The family also claimed that the Autopilot feature of the vehicle was the cause of the crash.

Examining Huang's phone showed that one of the two iPhones Apple had given him was logged in and playing a mobile game called "Three Kingdoms" at the time of the accident. Investigators upheld the idea that Tesla was at fault in the serious collision, but they also blamed the game for preventing the driver from responding when his car began to drive itself dangerously.

An Uber self-driving car also had a serious accident in Arizona in the month of this crash. In the Uber incident, the driver, who was supposed to monitor the car, was sitting in the driver's seat, watching TV on his phone at the time of the collision.

The Autopilot feature of Tesla requires drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times, and their eyes to pay attention to the road ahead, even when the vehicle is changing lanes or accelerating.

Tesla Driver Driving Playing Iphone Game Authority
Walter Huang and his Tesla car.

The National Traffic Safety Board has been heavily critical of Tesla over the years regarding its driver assistance system. According to Sumwalt, the board wants Tesla to make it clear to the driver that its car cannot drive itself.

Some of the board's nine new recommendations are directed at Apple and other smartphone manufacturers. Sumwalt blames Apple for not providing a clear personal electronics policy for its employees.

"Apple is not the leader. It is lagging. It does not have such a policy at all" - he said.

Apple says its employees must comply with the law.

The National Traffic Safety Board continues to advise Apple and others that it must implement a "stricter mobile phone policy to minimize distractions, including the suggestion that phones should be set at disabled mode by default while driving except in an emergency.

The iPhone and Apple's CarPlay system actually have "Do Not Disturb While Driving" mode but is not automatically activated when the user starts driving.

A recent survey by Reviews.org found that over 75% of the participants claimed to be phone addicts. Over 50% of the 500 people surveyed said they sometimes or always looked at the mobile phone while driving. 

>>> Tesla Autopilot Cars Fooled Into Speeding With Just A Piece Of Tape

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