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Uber and Three Parties Blamed Over 2018 Arizona Self-Driving Uber Crash

Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board made its determination after probing into the cause of a fatal 2018 self-driving Uber crash. According to the national agency, not only does Uber get a share of the blame for the accident, but also the state of Arizona, the victim, and the safety driver in the vehicle.

Cause of the Fatal Uber Crash

The Verge reports that, following a thorough two-and-a-half hour hearing on 19th November, 2019, the National Transportation Safety Board prepared its determination report of the cause of the accident. 

According to the board, the operator responsible for the self-driving Uber, Rafaela Vasquez, did not monitor the road because she was “visually distracted throughout the trip by her cell phone.” Based on police reports, Vasquez was streaming The Voice when the crash occurred. 

NTSB detectives discovered that she spent over 34% of her period in the Uber vehicle glued to her phone. She glanced down her phone the majority of the time. The final glance occurred exactly six seconds before the impact of the crash. She checked the road one second before the crash.

The “inadequate safety risk assessment procedures” at Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) contributed to the crash, too. The company lacked a committed safety manager responsible for assessing risk and lessening its effects. Also, the ineffective monitoring of vehicle operators was another way through which Uber was to blame. 

While there were cameras to monitor the safety drivers, there was no credible oversight which ensured these drivers’ compliance with the company’s policy. If Uber had strict oversight of its policy of prohibiting smartphone use, Rafeala would not have used a cell phone. 

Uber lacked the ability to address the complacency of its safety drivers in monitoring automated driving systems. Ordinarily, riding with the self-driving vehicles is dull. But Uber lacked a system that ensures its safety drivers were not getting careless about it. 

The victim NTSB also blamed the victim Elaine Herzberg. They found the deceased to have methamphetamines in her body system. This impairment may have led her to cross outside the crosswalk, leading to her demise. 

The state of Arizona’s insufficient policies for regulating automated vehicles on its public roads also contributed to the crash. 

Statistics of Self-Driving Car Fatalities

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are some mind-blowing stats about self-driving auto crashes:

  • In 2018, over 28 rear-end crashes occurred in California alone.
  • Over four AV drivers have died in self-driving auto accidents
  • In the 38 fatalities that occurred between 2014 and 2018, the self-driving cars were on autonomous mode. Humans caused only one of this instance.
  • By August 9th, 2019, there are four confirmed Autopilot Level 2 fatalities, which occurred in Florida and California. 

What to Do if You Are Involved in an Uber Accident?

If you or a loved one has been involved in an Uber accident, you can contact Thomas J. Henry. Our team of excellent attorneys has a repertoire of legal skills, knowledge, and resources to assess your claim effectively. We are available anytime you need us. We serve clients across Texas and nationwide through our offices in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Houston. Today, you can call us for a free case review, we are here for you!

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