posted videos on YouTube showing that the camera sometimes fails to notice when drivers look away from the road and that it can be fooled if they cover the lens. When the camera notices a Tesla driver looking away from the road, it sounds a warning chime but does not turn Autopilot off.

G.M. and Ford systems use infrared cameras to monitor drivers’ eyes. If drivers look away for more than two or three seconds, warnings remind them to look straight ahead. If drivers fail to comply, the G.M. and Ford systems will shut off and tell drivers to take control of the car.

Ms. Benavides emigrated from Cuba in 2016 and lived with her mother in Miami. She worked at a Walgreens pharmacy and a clothing store while attending community college. An older sister, Neima, 34, who is executor of the estate, said Naibel had been working to improve her English in hopes of getting a college degree.

“She was always laughing and making people laugh,” Neima Benavides said. “Her favorite thing was to go to the beach. She would go almost every day and hang out with friends or just sit by herself and read.”

Neima Benavides said she hoped the lawsuit would prod Tesla into making Autopilot safer. “Maybe something can change so other people don’t have to go through this.”

Ms. Benavides had just started dating Mr. Angulo when they went fishing on Key Largo. That afternoon, she sent her sister a text message indicating she was having a good time. At 9 p.m., Ms. Benavides called her mother from Mr. Angulo’s phone to say she was on the way home. She had lost her phone that day.

On the 911 call, Mr. McGee reported that a man was on the ground, unconscious and bleeding from the mouth. Several times Mr. McGee said, “Oh, my God,” and shouted “Help!” When an emergency operator asked if the man was the only injured person, Mr. McGee replied, “Yes, he’s the only passenger.”

Mr. Angulo was airlifted to a hospital. He later told investigators that he had no recollection of the accident or why they had stopped at the intersection.

An emergency medical technician spotted a woman’s sandal under the Tahoe and called on others to start searching the area for another victim. “Please tell me no,” Mr. McGee can be heard saying in the police video. “Please tell me no.”

Ms. Benavides’s body was found about 25 yards away.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Flood Deaths in China Show Road Risks From Climate Change

ZHENGZHOU, China — More than 200 cars were caught in a highway tunnel on Tuesday in central China when record-setting rainfall soaked the area. Torrents of water poured in the tunnel’s entrances, nearly filling it to the ceiling.

The death toll that day probably would have been higher had it not been for a semiretired special forces commando who swam back and forth among the bobbing, colliding vehicles to rescue drowning drivers as their cars filled with water and sank. The authorities are still draining the tunnel, and have said that at least four people died.

Initially, international attention to transportation safety risks from extreme weather focused on drownings in a subway tunnel that filled with water during the same cloudburst in Zhengzhou, in central China’s Henan Province. But the highway-tunnel flooding deaths highlight the risks that climate change can also pose to motorists, transportation safety experts said this weekend.

Indeed, the deaths show that road engineers, like subway-system designers, will need to cope with the more intense rainfalls associated with climate change, said Kara M. Kockelman, a transportation engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

1993 during the Mississippi River floods in the Midwest to alleviate pressure on dams when the water behind them became dangerously high.

Only two months ago, the Henan Province government was promoting its “smart tunnel” investments in the same mile-long, four-lane highway tunnel that flooded on Tuesday. Sensors could be used to track and precisely locate any person or vehicle, and to closely monitor the tunnel’s water pumps. An artificial intelligence system could be used to instantly analyze problems and suggest solutions.

Highway tunnels, including Zhengzhou’s, are built with their own pumping systems. But extreme cloudbursts like the one last week, in which eight inches of rain fell in a single hour, pose formidable challenges for road designers.

To work, such pumping systems need to be able to move the water somewhere that is not underwater itself. Zhengzhou is nearly flat and slow to drain. The entire street at the south end of the tunnel filled with water several feet deep.

Dr. Kockelman said that any investigation of what went wrong in Zhengzhou would need to examine whether the exit point for the pumps had become submerged. That could cause the flow of water through the pumps to reverse direction and fill the tunnel.

Liu Chunge, an owner of a tiny grocery store that sits two stairs above the sidewalk next to the south end of the tunnel, said that the water in the streets rose fast. She was soon calf-deep inside her store.

The freezer from which she sells ice cream began to float, so she loaded beverage bottles onto it to force it back down to the floor.

“I’ve never experienced such a big flood,” said Ms. Liu, 50. “In previous floods, the water never rose above the two steps.”

Zhengzhou officials have held three news conferences since the tunnel floods, but they have yet to directly explain what went wrong.

Local authorities have struggled to remove water from the highway tunnel. On Friday afternoon, they were operating a pair of pumps nearly the size of commercial jet engines attached to bright red, fire engine-size suction trucks at the tunnel’s south end. But the muddy water was still deep enough in the tunnel that only the roof of a white car inside was visible.

Several workers maneuvered a large yellow tow truck to try to pull a mud-covered black minivan out of the tunnel’s exit. The minivan had its rear wheels on a nearly yard-high highway median, and its driver’s door hung open. Five other mud-soaked cars and vans lay in the water nearby, including a dark blue Ford sedan with a white car on its roof.

Many Zhengzhou residents watched and filmed the crews’ work on Friday afternoon, and were occasionally chased away by a few municipal police officers.

As for Mr. Yang, Caocao gave him a new, $25,000 electric minivan on Friday night.

Li You, Claire Fu and Liu Yi contributed research.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Cable and Brake Failure Caused Cable Car Crash in Italy, Investigators Say

The crash of a cable car near picturesque Lake Maggiore in northern Italy, killing 14 people, occurred after a cable snapped and an emergency brake failed, investigators said Monday.

The cable car had almost reached the end station on Mottarone mountain, a nearly 5,000-foot peak, on Sunday afternoon when it suddenly started sliding backward. It slid for hundreds of meters at a height of nearly 40 feet, hitting a pillar and plunging to the ground. There was only one survivor, a five-year-old boy.

Hikers and local residents said they heard a hissing sound, presumably when the cable snapped and twisted through the air, and then a loud bang.

“A cable broke and the car slid toward the valley without it being stopped by the braking system,” Olimpia Bossi, the lead prosecutor in the nearby city of Verbania, said in a phone interview. “We are trying to determine why this happened and what broke first.”

Twitter on Monday. “Be strong, Eitan. Italy’s firemen are all with you.”

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Australian Who Filmed 4 Dead and Dying Officers Gets Prison Sentence

CANBERRA, Australia — An Australian driver who filmed four dead and dying police officers who had been hit by a truck on a freeway was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 months in prison for what a judge described as a “heartless, cruel and disgraceful” act.

The driver, Richard Pusey, 42, a mortgage broker, had pleaded guilty in a court in the state of Victoria to a rarely prosecuted charge of outraging public decency over his commentary in crash-scene videos he shot with his phone. It was the first time the charge had been prosecuted in the state since 1963.

The most serious charge against him was reckless conduct endangering persons, which could carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. But the judge, Trevor Wraight, sentenced Mr. Pusey to 10 months in prison, backdated to when he was arrested 296 days ago. While Mr. Pusey’s sentence is almost completed, he is likely to remain in custody for unrelated matters.

The police pulled Mr. Pusey over in April 2020 for driving a Porsche at 93 miles per hour on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway. (The speed limit was 62 m.p.h.) They were considering impounding his car when a truck crashed into the officers, the Porsche and two police cars in an emergency stopping lane.

Mr. Pusey, who avoided injury because he had been urinating behind roadside bushes at the time, did not help the officers but instead pulled out his phone and filmed the scene, officials said. His profanity-laden commentary included “he’s smashed,” “justice,” “absolutely amazing” and “beautiful.”

When a bystander who came to the aid of the stricken officers asked Mr. Pusey to help, he replied, “They’re dead,” and continued filming.

“Your conduct,” Judge Wraight said to Mr. Pusey in court, was “heartless, cruel and disgraceful.”

The judge noted that Mr. Pusey had a personality disorder, which might go some way to explaining his behavior, but he said the case outraged public decency.

Mr. Pusey also pleaded guilty to speeding offenses and possessing ecstasy; he tested positive for that drug and cannabis after he was pulled over. He was also fined 1,000 Australian dollars ($773) and barred from driving for two years.

Two weeks ago, the driver of the truck that struck the four officers was sentenced to 22 years in prison. The driver, Mohinder Singh, had pleaded guilty to four counts of culpable driving causing death, three charges of drug trafficking and one count of possessing illicit drugs.

He had been impaired by drugs and sleep-deprived when his vehicle hit the officers, officials said.

View Source

Police Investigate Fatal Tesla Crash Near Houston

Federal safety officials and the Texas police are investigating a fatal crash of a Tesla vehicle that had no one behind the wheel, the authorities said Tuesday, as the company comes under heightened scrutiny over its automatic steering and braking system.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent two investigators to Texas on Monday to focus on the vehicle’s operation and a fire that followed the crash on Saturday, said Keith Holloway, a spokesman. The police in Precinct 4 of Harris County, Texas, are also investigating, according to Constable Mark Herman.

Constable investigators were working with the N.T.S.B., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Tesla, which was “helping with our investigation,” Constable Herman said in a statement. “At this time, we will refrain from making any additional statements as the investigation continues to progress,” he said.

On Monday, Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, wrote on Twitter that recovered data logs showed the vehicle had not enabled Autopilot.

are calling that claim into question as they investigate Saturday’s crash and more than 20 other recent accidents in which drivers were, or may have been, using the system. Tesla vehicles are not self-driving — they require “active driver supervision,” the company says on its website — but Autopilot can steer, accelerate and brake automatically within a lane.

In the crash on Saturday night, which occurred north of Houston, physical evidence from the scene and interviews with witnesses led officials to believe that neither of the men were driving, according to Constable Herman.

The vehicle, a 2019 Model S, was moving at a “high rate of speed” around a curve when it veered off the road and hit a tree, Constable Herman said. He also said that it had taken the authorities four hours to put out the fire. The N.T.S.B. said last year in a report that batteries used in electric vehicles can pose safety risks to emergency responders.

Two men, 59 and 69 years old, were killed in the crash. One was in the front passenger seat and one in the rear seat, officials said. “It is very early in the investigation,” said Mr. Holloway, the N.T.S.B. spokesman.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also looking into a February crash near Houston in which a Tesla ran into a stopped police vehicle on a highway. It was not clear whether the driver was using Autopilot. In another incident in February in Detroit, a Tesla drove beneath a tractor-trailer that was crossing the road, seriously injuring the driver and a passenger. Officials have not said whether the driver had turned on Autopilot.

highlighted a safety report from the company, writing on Twitter that “Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle.”

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

Bryan Pietsch contributed reporting.

View Source

2 Killed in Driverless Tesla Car Crash, Officials Say

Mitchell Weston, chief investigator at the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, said that while the batteries are “generally safe,” impacts at high speeds can result in “thermal runaway,” which causes an “uncontrolled contact” between different materials in the batteries.

Thermal runaway can lead to fires, as well as “battery reignition,” even after an initial fire is put out, the safety board warned in its report. Mitsubishi Electric warns that “thermal runaway can lead to catastrophic results, including fire, explosion, sudden system failure, costly damage to equipment, and possibly personal injury.”

The fire marshal’s office was investigating the fire in the crash, a spokeswoman said. Constable Herman said his department was working with the federal authorities to investigate.

He said that law enforcement officials had been in contact with Tesla on Saturday for “guidance on a few things” but declined to discuss the nature of the conversations.

Tesla, which has disbanded its public relations team, did not respond to a request for comment.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, earlier on Saturday had promoted a recent safety report from the company, writing on Twitter that “Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle.”

Tesla, which on its website calls Autopilot the “future of driving,” says the feature allows its vehicles to “steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane.” However, it warns that “current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

In 2016, a driver in Florida was killed in a Tesla Model S that was in Autopilot mode and failed to brake for a tractor-trailer that made a left turn in front of it.

View Source

Trains Collide in Egypt, Killing at Least 32

CAIRO — Two trains collided in southern Egypt on Friday, killing at least 32 people and injuring 90, in the latest disaster to strike a railway system that has been plagued by accidents, poor maintenance and mismanagement for years.

The Egyptian National Railways Authority said “unknown actors” had activated the brakes on one of the trains involved near the city of Sohag on the Nile and another train coming from behind crashed into it, causing two passenger cars to overturn. A video shot by a passenger and posted online showed a frantic scene inside one of the cars, where people appeared to be trapped.

“Save us,” one of the passengers is heard screaming. “We can’t get the people out.”

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi promised in a post on his official Twitter page to penalize those responsible.

“The pain that breaks our hearts will only increase our resolve to end such disasters,” he said.

The collision came as Egypt was dealing with a crisis on the Suez Canal, where a cargo ship that ran aground has halted traffic for days on one of the world’s main shipping routes.

country’s worst rail disaster claimed more than 300 lives when a fire erupted on a speeding train traveling to Cairo from southern Egypt.

At least 20 people were killed and dozens were injured in 2019 when a train crashed into a platform at Cairo’s main rail station, touching off a fire. A year earlier, a passenger train and a cargo train collided in the Nile Delta north of Cairo, killing at least 12 people. In 2017, two trains crashed near the port city of Alexandria, killing at least 37 people and injuring more than 100.

While investigations and inquiries are often ordered up following the crashes, little has been done to solve the longstanding problems. After one crash in 2018, Mr. Sisi said the government lacked the roughly $14 billion needed to overhaul the run-down rail system.

Anna Schaverien contributed reporting from London.

View Source

Ford Can Be Sued in States Where Accidents Occurred, Supreme Court Rules

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday made it easier for consumers injured by products to sue their manufacturers, unanimously ruling that courts have jurisdiction over lawsuits filed in the consumers’ home states notwithstanding that the products were made and sold elsewhere so long as the manufacturers did substantial business in the states.

The case arose from two car accidents involving vehicles made by Ford Motor Company. In one, Markkaya Gullett was driving her 1996 Explorer near her Montana home when the tread separated from a tire. The vehicle spun into a ditch and flipped over, and Ms. Gullett died at the scene. Her estate sued Ford in state court in Montana.

In the other, Adam Bandemer was a passenger in a 1994 Crown Victoria, on his way to do some ice-fishing in Minnesota, when the driver rear-ended a snowplow. The passenger-side airbag failed, and Mr. Bandemer sustained serious brain damage. He sued in state court in Minnesota.

Ford argued that the courts lacked jurisdiction because the company did not have a relevant connection to those states. It had designed the vehicles in Michigan; it had manufactured the Explorer in Kentucky and sold it in Washington State; and it had manufactured the Crown Victoria in Canada and sold it in North Dakota. (The cars ended up in Montana and Minnesota after they were resold.)

quoting an earlier decision. “Their residents, while riding in vehicles purchased within their borders, were killed or injured in accidents on their roads. Can anyone seriously argue that requiring Ford to litigate these cases in Minnesota and Montana would be fundamentally unfair?”

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, also filed a concurring opinion in the case, Ford Motor Company v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court, No. 19-368, saying the court’s jurisprudence in this area was muddled and out of step with the modern reality of “corporations with global reach.”

View Source

Tesla’s Autopilot Technology Faces Fresh Scrutiny

Tesla faced numerous questions about its Autopilot technology after a Florida driver was killed in 2016 when the system of sensors and cameras failed to see and brake for a tractor-trailer crossing a road.

Now the company is facing more scrutiny than it has in the last five years for Autopilot, which Tesla and its chief executive, Elon Musk, have long maintained makes its cars safer than other vehicles. Federal officials are looking into a series of recent accidents involving Teslas that either were using Autopilot or might have been using it.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed last week that it was investigating 23 such crashes. In one accident this month, a Tesla Model Y rear-ended a police car that had stopped on a highway near Lansing, Mich. The driver, who was not seriously injured, had been using Autopilot, the police said.

In February in Detroit, under circumstances similar to the 2016 Florida accident, a Tesla drove beneath a tractor-trailer that was crossing the road, tearing the roof off the car. The driver and a passenger were seriously injured. Officials have not said whether the driver had turned on Autopilot.

crash near Houston in which a Tesla ran into a stopped police vehicle on a highway. It is not clear if the driver was using Autopilot. The car did not appear to slow before the impact, the police said.

Autopilot is a computerized system that uses radar and cameras to detect lane markings, other vehicles and objects in the road. It can steer, brake and accelerate automatically with little input from the driver. Tesla has said it should be used only on divided highways, but videos on social media show drivers using Autopilot on various kinds of roads.

“We need to see the results of the investigations first, but these incidents are the latest examples that show these advanced cruise-control features Tesla has are not very good at detecting and then stopping for a vehicle that is stopped in a highway circumstance,” said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a group created in the 1970s by Consumers Union and Ralph Nader.

This renewed scrutiny arrives at a critical time for Tesla. After reaching a record high this year, its share price has fallen about 20 percent amid signs that the company’s electric cars are losing market share to traditional automakers. Ford Motor’s Mustang Mach E and the Volkswagen ID.4 recently arrived in showrooms and are considered serious challengers to the Model Y.

The outcome of the current investigations is important not only for Tesla but for other technology and auto companies that are working on autonomous cars. While Mr. Musk has frequently suggested the widespread use of these vehicles is near, Ford, General Motors and Waymo, a division of Google’s parent, Alphabet, have said that moment could be years or even decades away.

played a major role” in the 2016 Florida accident. It also said the technology lacked safeguards to prevent drivers from taking their hands off the steering wheel or looking away from the road. The safety board reached similar conclusions when it investigated a 2018 accident in California.

By comparison, a similar G.M. system, Super Cruise, monitors a driver’s eyes and switches off if the person looks away from the road for more than a few seconds. That system can be used only on major highways.

In a Feb. 1 letter, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Robert Sumwalt, criticized NHTSA for not doing more to evaluate Autopilot and require Tesla to add safeguards that prevent drivers from misusing the system.

The new administration in Washington could take a firmer line on safety. The Trump administration did not seek to impose many regulations on autonomous vehicles and sought to ease other rules the auto industry did not like, including fuel-economy standards. By contrast, President Biden has appointed an acting NHTSA administrator, Steven Cliff, who worked at the California Air Resources Board, which frequently clashed with the Trump administration on regulations.

Concerns about Autopilot could dissuade some car buyers from paying Tesla for a more advanced version, Full Self-Driving, which the company sells for $10,000. Many customers have paid for it in the expectation of being able to use it in the future; Tesla made the option operational on about 2,000 cars in a “beta” or test version starting late last year, and Mr. Musk recently said the company would soon make it available to more cars. Full Self Driving is supposed to be able to operate Tesla cars in cities and on local roads where driving conditions are made more complex by oncoming traffic, intersections, traffic lights, pedestrians and cyclists.

Despite their names, Autopilot and Full Self-Driving have big limitations. Their software and sensors cannot control cars in many situations, which is why drivers have to keep their eyes on the road and hands on or close to the wheel.

a November letter to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles that recently became public, a Tesla lawyer acknowledged that Full Self-Driving struggled to react to a wide range of driving situations and should not be considered a fully autonomous driving system.

The system is not “not capable of recognizing or responding” to certain “circumstances and events,” Eric C. Williams, Tesla’s associate general counsel, wrote. “These include static objects and road debris, emergency vehicles, construction zones, large uncontrolled intersections with multiple incoming ways, occlusions, adverse weather, complicated or adversarial vehicles in the driving paths, unmapped roads.”

Mr. Levine of the Center for Auto Safety has complained to federal regulators that the names Autopilot and Full Self-Driving are misleading at best and could be encouraging some drivers to be reckless.

“Autopilot suggests the car can drive itself and, more importantly, stop itself,” he said. “And they doubled down with Full Self-Driving, and again that leads consumers to believe the vehicle is capable of doing things it is not capable of doing.”

View Source

Carmakers Strive to Stay Ahead of Hackers

“Human life is involved, so cybersecurity is our top priority,” said Kevin Tierney, General Motors’ vice president for global cybersecurity. The company, which has 90 engineers working full time on cybersecurity, practices what it calls “defense in depth,” removing unneeded software and creating rules that allow vehicle systems to communicate with one another only when necessary.

It’s a practice also followed by Volkswagen, said Maj-Britt Peters, a spokeswoman for the company’s software and technology group. She noted that Volkswagen’s sensitive vehicle control systems are kept in separate domains.

Continental, a major supplier of electronic parts to automakers, employs an intrusion detection and prevention system to thwart attacks. “If the throttle position sensor is talking to the airbag, that is not planned,” Mr. Smoly said. “We can stop this, but we wouldn’t do so while the vehicle was moving.”

Still, determined hackers will eventually find a way in. To date, vehicle cybersecurity has been a patchwork effort, with no international standards or regulations. But that is about to change.

This year, a United Nations regulation on vehicle cybersecurity came into force, obligating manufacturers to perform various risk assessments and report on intrusion attempts to certify cybersecurity readiness. The regulation will take effect for all vehicles sold in Europe from July 2024 and in Japan and South Korea in 2022.

While the United States is not among the 54 signatories, vehicles sold in America aren’t likely to be built to meet different cybersecurity standards from those in cars sold elsewhere, and vice versa.

“The U.N. regulation is a global standard, and we have to meet global standards,” Mr. Tierney of G.M. said.

View Source