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Tesla Driver Faces Felony Charges following 2019 Crash

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Jan. 19, 2021—California prosecutors have filed two counts of vehicular manslaughter against a Tesla driver whose vehicle, which was on Autopilot, ran a red light and killed two people in a crash in 2019.

The charges appear to be the first ever filed against a defendant in a crash that involved a partially automated driving system, according to the Associated Press. The charges were filed in October but "only came to light last week."

Tesla has been the subject of numerous investigations over the widespread misuse of its autonomous systems and the labeling of those systems that implies full autonomy. 

The documents filing charges against the defendant do not specifically mention Autopilot per the report, but the NHTSA confirmed to the Associated Press that Autopilot was on in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

According to the report, around 765,000 Teslas in the U.S. alone have access to Autopilot features. 

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