A fatal crash involving an autonomous Uber vehicle is now being investigated by police in Tempe, Arizona.
According to reports of the accident, Uber’s self-driving car was in autonomous mode when it hit 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, who was walking her bicycle outside of designated crosswalks. Herzberg would later die from the injuries she sustained at a local hospital.
Although the vehicle was in autonomous mode at the time of the accident, a human operator, 44-year-old Rafael Vasquez, was sitting in the driver’s seat. Police say that neither the driver nor the victim were impaired, and the weather at the time of the accident was clear. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the autonomous vehicle was traveling at 38 miles per hour through an area that has a speed limit of 35 miles per hour. The car did not slow down when it hit the pedestrian.
Though video footage of the accident has yet to be released by Tempe police, Chief Sylvia Moir says that the recording shows just how difficult it would have been to avoid the accident. According to Moir, preliminary evidence suggests that “Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident.”
An Uber spokesman said that the company is aware of the accident and is fully cooperating with police in their investigation. The company also issued this statement to TechCrunch: “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”
In response to the incident, Uber is suspending autonomous vehicle testing in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto. The National Transportation Safety Board will also be sending their own team to investigate the circumstances of the accident.
Although this accident isn’t the first one to involve an autonomous vehicle, it might be the first one to result in the death of a pedestrian. Determining liability for accidents involving self-driving cars will be a new process for courts. According to some experts, investigators will likely determine fault in these types of accidents by asking how humans would have performed in a similar circumstance and whether the automated system performed in a similar or comparable capacity. These investigations will most likely rely on digital data that is stored locally or remotely from the vehicle involved in the accident.
If you have been in an accident with a self-driving car, you should immediately get in contact with a skilled accident attorney to discuss your case. At the Law Offices of Jennie Levin, P.C., we are here to advocate for your rights to ensure that you get the compensation and justice that you deserve.
Contact our Los Angeles personal injury attorney to schedule your free confidential case evaluation today.