Self-Driving Uber Car in Arizona Kills Pedestrian

A pedestrian wheeling a bicycle across the road was recently killed by an Uber self-driving vehicle in Arizona, calling into question the safety of the company’s self-driving vehicles and its use of public roads for test-driving those vehicles. This was believed to be the first pedestrian death associated with self-driving vehicles. Prior to this accident, Uber had been testing its self-driving vehicles in Arizona, California, Pennsylvania and Canada.

The company quickly suspended testing in Arizona as well as in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto after the accident occurred. Following closely on the heels of Uber’s grounding all of its self-driving cars, Arizona’s governor announced that he was suspending the company’s license to test-drive its self-driving vehicles in the state and Uber itself then announced that it would not be seeking renewal of the permit that allowed it to test its self-driving vehicles in California. Despite these measures, what this tragedy reflects is that self-driving cars are not ready to begin wide-scale operations on the roads in Florida, Arizona, or any other state any time in the near future.

How Did the Accident Occur?

According to a New York Times report regarding the incident, a woman was crossing a Tempe, Arizona street wheeling her bicycle when she was struck by the Uber vehicle with a safety driver inside. The vehicle was determined to be going 40 mph in a 45 zone. Most alarmingly, the vehicle’s video equipment shows that the car did not even brake or slow down before hitting the woman. Further investigation of the incident also reflected that the safety driver in the vehicle who was supposed to be monitoring the car as it drove was distracted. A review of the car’s video systems reflected that the safety driver was clearly looking down at the time of the impact. It also appears from the video that both of the safety driver’s hands were not hovering above the steering wheel, which is what safety drivers are instructed to do at all times because it allows them to take control of the car quickly in the case of an emergency.

Why Is This Such a Disturbing Trend?

This recent accident is so disturbing because the claim of all companies attempting to develop fully autonomous vehicles to date has been that their implementation on city streets in Miami, Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach and other major cities throughout the United States is just around the corner. However, the more often accidents like this happen, the more uncertain the future of self-driving vehicles and their safety for nearby motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. In 2016, a man in Williston, Florida was killed while at the wheel of a Tesla when using its Autopilot feature. Although federal investigators later ruled that the system was not at fault in the crash, incidents like the 2016 crash in Williston or the recent Tempe pedestrian accident do not make Florida’s drivers feel any safer when the topic of self-driving vehicles and their implementation comes up.

Contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley if You Have Been Injured or a Loved One Has Been Killed
in a Florida Motor Vehicle Accident

At Schwed Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal experience and many of our firm’s cases stem from motor vehicle accidents in which our clients have suffered catastrophic injuries or have been the victim of a wrongful death. Our attorneys have dealt with some of the most complex legal issues and factual scenarios imaginable in attempting to recover maximum damages for our clients and the first self-driving pedestrian death in Florida would not faze our experienced personal injury attorneys. No matter the type of accident or scenario in which you or a loved one have been injured or killed, contact our experienced attorneys at contact@schwedlawfirm.com or (877) 694-6079 for a free consultation regarding your legal rights today.

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