Multiple news outlets have reported that a self-driving Uber vehicle, struck and killed a female pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday night. Immediately following the news of this tragic traffic fatality, Uber suspended all road-testing of such autos in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.
The vehicle in question was a Volvo, which was in self-driving mode with a human backup driver at the wheel when it hit 49-year-old woman as she was walking a bicycle outside the lines of a crosswalk, police said. The National Transportation Safety Board, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are both investigating the accident.
At this point, it’s unclear who was at fault for this traffic accident. I have a lot of questions though, as this is not the first car crash or traffic fatality involving self-driving cars. First, what in the world was the human, “back up” driver doing at the time of the accident? If the vehicle’s cameras didn’t pick up the pedestrian, then the back up human should have been paying attention and stepped on the brakes or swerved the vehicle herself. Otherwise, what is the point of having a back-up driver in the vehicle. Also, self-driving car proponents continue to tout the safety benefits of these vehicles (i.e. they don’t get drunk, fall asleep or read phones), yet we continue to see accidents. I will continue to follow this story to see how Uber and other companies react and whether the federal government intervenes at some point to implement their own regulations.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago pedestrian accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.