A number of deadly accidents involving have raised questions about the safety of these cars and the liability of drivers and auto manufacturers when an accident occurs. In these incidents the fatalities have all involved drivers or passengers of self-driving cars. Now, for the first time, a self-driving car is being blamed for the death of a woman who was not a passenger or a driver in the vehicle. In Tempe, Arizona, a woman crossing the street outside the crosswalk was struck by an Uber self-driving car.
The test car operated by Uber was set to self-driving mode when the pedestrian was struck. However, it had a safety driver who is charged with assuming control over the vehicle if the need arises. Safety drivers are standard when self-driving cars are undergoing testing. The National Transportation Safety Board intends to examine the incident. Uber has committed to cooperating with authorities who are investigating the death of the pedestrian and has suspended its self-driving test programs in other cities, such as Pittsburgh and San Francisco, until further notice.
The pedestrian’s death has reignited a number of debates about self-driving cars. Proponents of self-driving technology maintain that these cars will greatly improve road safety. Meanwhile, critics argue that the self-driving car industry has so far fallen short of creating a product that has adequate safety features and mechanisms. Critics have also stated that certain pro-autonomous vehicle states, such as California and Arizona, have prematurely allowed widespread testing of self-driving vehicles without instituting proper safeguards. Consumer Watchdog called for a temporary suspension of self-driving car testing on the open road until investigators conclude their probe into the death of the pedestrian in Arizona. Arizona has been particularly criticized for allowing self-driving testing with virtually no regulatory oversight. In response to the incident, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey suspended Uber’s license to test autonomous cars in the state.
In addition to concerns about whether these cars are actually ready for unfettered public use, this accident brings to the forefront issues of liability when an injury or death happens. It is unclear who will bear legal responsibility for the pedestrian’s death. Potential culprits include Uber, the car manufacturer and the safety driver, but these questions are still being vigorously debated.
If you or a member of your family suffered injury or death as a result of negligence or a defective automobile, contact the attorneys Alexander Law Group, LLP. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will answer your questions and get you the maximum compensation that is possible. Call 888.777.1776 or contact us online.