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Fatal Accidents Raise Concern Over Tesla's Autopilot Technology

SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — A string of accidents have raised concerns about the safety of self-driving cars.

In a recent fatal crash on a highway in China, a vehicle dash cam records the very last seconds before a Tesla Model S, said to be on autopilot, violently slams into a street sweeper, killing the 23-year-old driver.

In May, 40-year-old Joshua Brown was killed driving his Tesla Model S on autopilot in Florida. The car's sensors failed to warn about a white tractor trailer's turn, propelling Brown into the semi.

After the accident in Florida, Tesla said in a statement that drivers acknowledge the system is new technology and it is still in a public beta phase. Drivers are told to keep their hands on the wheel.

"You need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle," the statement said.

Consumer Watchdog's Jaime Court says this disclaimer doesn't absolve Tesla of the responsibility of using technology that hasn't been safely tested and warns we are likely to see more deaths due to Tesla's lack of transparency.

Court argues the lack of federal safety standards is allowing Tesla and other companies who want autopilot technology to use drivers as guinea pigs.

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