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Rideshare Company Settles With Family of Victim Killed By Autonomous Vehicle

May 14, 2018

Montlick & Associates Explains How Self-Driving Cars Endanger Pedestrians

Ridesharecorporation Uber announced that they had settled with the husband and daughter of the 49-year-old woman killed crossing a road in Tempe, AZ. The woman died after an Uber self-driving car plowed into her. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a police officer cited the human observer who was behind the wheel of a self-driving car for failing to yield to a pedestrian who tried to cross the street as the car in autonomous mode passed by. 

Proponents of artificial intelligence and autonomous cars claim that driving will be safer once the technology develops after extensive testing. Their opinions are the subject of speculation, conjecture, and surmise. They might ultimately be correct. However, no one is certain that self-driving vehicles will ever reach the ability to perceive, comprehend, and react to danger in the same manner in which a human who is paying full attention to his or her driving responsibilities can react. In the two incidents described above, the vehicle did not respond to the threat of a pedestrian appearing on the road near the car. Thankfully, the pedestrian in San Fransisco was uninjured. 

At Montlick & Associates, our Georgia car accident attorneys closely monitor developments in the autonomous car industry. Car manufacturers continuously announce revolutionary technology that is trending toward making a human driver obsolete. However, Montlick & Associates auto accident attorneys are uniquely positioned to respond to your Georgia car wreck involving autonomous technology. 

The Uber Crash in Tempe

The Uber incident was a senseless tragedy. The Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode during a test ride with a woman behind the wheel acting as a human intervenor. The car never stopped and plowed into a woman walking a bicycle across the street. The video recording from the forward-facing camera mounted on the car released by law enforcement shows the moment before the car strikes the unlucky woman. The camera does not pick up the woman until she appears in the vehicle’s headlight beams. By then, it is too late.

To compound problems, the woman supervising the vehicle while operating in autonomous mode was inattentive mere moments before the crash. The vehicle camera focusing on the driver depicts the driver looking down toward the center console. She looks up in horror to see a person in front of the car. Her inattention prevented her from overriding the car’s self-driving mode to save the life of the pedestrian possibly. 

The time of day could have prevented the crash which occurred around 10:30 p.m. Also, hedges and shrubs lined the sidewalk running parallel to the road. Experts question whether the vehicle’s perception system comprised of laser and radar called "lidar" lost the pedestrian in the shrubbery along the road. 

Law enforcement continues to investigate the cause of the crash. The event is unprecedented, andanswers might not be announced for some time. There is little doubt, based on the information made public, that Uber is responsible for the fatal crash. Settling very shortly after the accident was in Uber’s best interest. The settlement amount was undisclosed.

Officer Cites Operator for Refusing to Stop for a Pedestrian

A San Francisco law enforcement officer cited the woman behind the wheel for a civil offense after the officer observed the car in autonomous mode did not stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The car came within 10 feet of the pedestrian. The investigating officer determined that the human operator is ultimately in control of the carand should have stopped for the pedestrian. The company test driving the car, Cruise, disputes the allegations. If the car was in autonomous mode, then it appears that the pedestrian avoidance system failed and needlessly placed a pedestrian in the zone of danger. 

Put Our Law Firm's Over 38 Years Of Legal Experience To Work For Your Case!

If you have been injured in any type of accident caused by someone else's negligence, call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 38 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour live chat.


Category: Auto Accidents

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.