Fatal Tempe Uber Vehicle Crash
In March of 2018, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg was killed by a self-driving Uber test vehicle in Tempe, Arizona. Following a crash with injuries, a pedestrian injury lawyer Tempe, Arizona can investigate fault and claims for damages.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is a federal agency that investigates aviation, highway, railroad, and shipping incidents. After conducting an investigation, the agency may state the “probable cause” of the accident and make suggestions to other federal agencies, local governments, and the industry regarding how to prevent such accidents from occurring again.
The NTSB conducted an investigation into the Tempe collision and concluded that Uber had left significant gaps in the vehicle’s safety, while developing its own self-driving technology.
In its investigation of the collision, the NTSB found that the backup driver was distracted by her phone at the time of the crash. The NTSB concluded that this was the primary reason for the accident. A pedestrian injury lawyer Tempe, Arizona may consult with an accident reconstructionist and identify applicable insurance policies and limits.
The NTSB also found that Uber’s driver training was insufficient in enforcing its own safety rules such as its anti cell phone policy. They also found evidence of automation complacency during the time of the accident, or the human habit to not pay attention when monitoring an automated system.
The NTSB also found that Uber’s software was not designed to recognize if a pedestrian is walking anywhere other than in a designated crosswalk. The Uber vehicle’s sensors registered Herzberg’s presence nearly 6 seconds before impact, enough time to react. The Uber car’s computer couldn’t determine what it was seeing, it cycled repeatedly among “vehicle,” “bicycle,” and “unknown,” the NTSB said, it started its calculations all over again, wrongly assuming each cycle that it was sensing a new stationary object. The NTSB stated that it did not get the message that there was a pedestrian moving into its path.
The vehicle’s forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems were also turned off, safety systems that, had they been engaged, may have prevented the crash.
The Chairman of the NTSB stated that the lessons of this crash do not just apply to Uber, implying that other self-driving car companies must take action and improve their safety policies in order to prevent other crashes like this from happening.
The NTSB suggested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should require companies who are testing self-driving vehicles on public roads to publish reports stating their approaches to safety.
Since the crash, Uber has revised its safety policies, overhauled driver training and started a new monitoring program. This drew praise from the NTSB, which stated that companies that cooperate in investigations can make improvements to increase safety.
A pedestrian injury lawyer Tempe, Arizona should be promptly consulted when serious injuries occur. The attorney will evaluate liability, the claims for damages, and advise regarding the risks and costs and benefits of the litigation process. There should be no fee for the consultation. There should be no fees or costs incurred unless there is a settlement.