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Pedestrian Struck and Killed by Driverless Uber in Arizona

Uber's Driverless Cars Were Not Programmed to Stop for Jaywalkers

A woman in Tempe, Arizona, has died after being struck by a driverless car operated by rideshare giant, Uber. According to a news report in The New York Times, this is the first pedestrian fatality reportedly caused by a self-driving car in the United States. Tempe police officials say the Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode with a human safety driver at the wheel when it struck the woman who was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk the night of March 18. Following this fatal pedestrian accident, Uber has announced that it has suspended testing of driverless cars in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members of this deceased victim. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Concerns Over Driverless Car Safety

There is no question that this fatal Uber car accident will raise a number of concerns and questions about regulations for self-driving cars. Just this month, the California Department of Motor Vehicles gave its blessing to tech companies and automakers to test their driverless vehicles on public roadways starting in April. Arizona already allows self-driving cars to operate without a driver behind the wheel.

Arizona has taken a hands-off approach and has promised companies that it would help keep the driverless car industry free from regulation. This had led to tech companies flocking to Arizona to test their driverless cars. While autonomous vehicles are believed to have the potential to prevent traffic accidents caused by human error and lack of judgment such as drunk and distracted driving, there is still a long way to go when it comes to adjusting autonomous systems for unpredictable human behavior and real-life scenarios, such as a pedestrian crossing outside a crosswalk.

Accidents and Liability Issues

There have been several crashes involving driverless vehicles recently reported. A year ago in Tempe, an Uber driverless vehicle collided with another car. But in that case, the other driver had failed to yield the right of way. In 2016, a man driving a Tesla on Autopilot died on a state highway in Florida when it crashed into a big rig that turned in front of his car. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is sending a team of investigators to Arizona to gather information about the Uber crash, a spokesman said.

As driverless vehicles continue to multiply on our roadways, it is important to be aware of your rights, should you be injured as a result of a crash caused by one of these vehicles. If you are a victim of a pedestrian accident, you could seek compensation for damages just as you would in any other car crash. An experienced California pedestrian accident lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/technology/uber-driverless-fatality.html

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