Autonomous Vehicles Under Heavy Scrutiny After Fatal Crash With Bicyclist
The Personal Injury Lawyers Montlick & Associates Express Concern About Self-Driving Autos
Tragedy struck in Tempe, AZ late Sunday, March 18, 2018, when an autonomous Uber vehicle struck and tragically killed a 49-year-old woman riding a bicycle. The woman tried to cross the street in front of the self-driving car. Although the Uber vehicle’s self-propelled mode was engaged, a vehicle safety monitor sat in the driver’s seat. As a result of this tragic event, Uber suspended its autonomous vehicle program and the National Transportation Safety Board activated its emergency response team to investigate the cause of the crash. Law enforcement officers from the Tempe police department and the Maricopa County Attorneys Office have also initiated an investigation to determine the cause of the fatal bicycle accident.
Clearly, state and federal regulators, along with autonomous vehicle manufacturers need to understand what happened and why a woman died. The public must receive education about self-driving cars and the threat they pose to the safety of everyone with whom they share the road.
Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, have earned the reputation for compassionately representing victims of car accidents and their families. Whether the crash that resulted in serious injuries or a fatality, Montlick & Associates' Georgia car accident attorneys possess the experience and determination to recover the maximum compensation under the law for our clients and their families.
Uber Suspends Autonomous Vehicle Program
Uber issued a moratorium on their autonomous vehicle testing program shortly after the company learned about the fatal accident involving one of their vehicles. Uber had begun testing its self-driving vehicles in Tempe, Pittsburgh, PA, and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Uber indicated that the company is fully cooperating with the investigation.
Not much is known about the crash at this point; however, the company acknowledged that the car’s self-driving setting was engaged. Additionally, law enforcement officers stated that the woman who was killed started to ride her bike westerly across the street in front of the Uber car. The Uber vehicle was heading north at the time of the collision.
There are several pieces of information which are not known at this juncture but need to be understood. Law enforcement, federal regulators, and Uber itself should investigate whether the driving monitor had the chance to stop the car before the crash or whether the 44-year-old Uber employee intervened at all in an effort to avoid a collision. Investigators also need to know whether the car recognized the bicyclist as she cut in front of the self-driving vehicle. A related question that must be answered is whether the car applied its brakes when the women entered the intersection and whether all of the sensors were operating correctly at the time as well and if the computer software that directed the car was in proper working order.
The state of Arizona agreed to allow autonomous vehicles on their roads so that autonomous vehicle manufacturers can study them more closely. Arizona law previously required a safety operator to be behind the wheel at all times during the test phase. In February of 2018, the Arizona governor signed an executive order permitting autonomous vehicle testing without a safety operator. Waymo, Google's version of an autonomous auto, is currently testing its self-driving vehicles without a safety monitor in the driver's seat.
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Sources: cited within and http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/20/news/companies/self-driving-uber-death/index.html
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