Last Sunday a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona was hit by a self-driven Uber. The pedestrian, Elaine Herzberg, was hit while crossing the street with her bicycle. The vehicle that struck Herzberg is part of the testing fleet that Uber launched in Arizona, where the governor issued executive orders to make it easier for companies to test self-driving cars. Herzberg did not survive the impact and this fatal accident is appears to be the first in which a self-driving car hits and kills a pedestrian. As a result, Uber has pulled all of the cars it was testing while they and the Nation Transportation Safety Board investigate what happened. This investigation has important ramifications for the industry of automated driving systems (ADS) beyond just Uber as well as for state legislation of ADS vehicles.
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Nearly every state has its own laws and regulations for self-driving vehicles now – 33 of the 50 according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Recently, there has been a shift in the regulations to allow for the testing of ADS without a human driver as a safety backup. Arizona recently updated their executive order to reflect this regulation and California is in the process of deciding whether to follow suit. Following this accident, California will likely hold off on changing their legislation until the investigation reveals how and why this accident occurs.
Particularly notable in this case is that Uber did have a driver in the car even though they were testing the ADS. Even with this extra precaution early reports state that the car was going 40 MPH in a 35 MPH zone and the driver never took over control of the car.
In previous Uber accidents, with traditional ride-share service, the drivers have always been independent contractors. It is unclear at this time whether this Uber driver was an employee or contractor. In the case of independent contractor accidents, Uber has a one-million-dollar insurance policy that comes into effect when there is an accident with injuries. With the new reality of driverless cars, it is unknown exactly how Uber’s insurance will take care of this accident, but they have agreed to cooperate fully.
SELF-DRIVING UBER HITS PEDESTRIAN
If you, your family member, or a friend may require an experienced Miami Car Accident Lawyer for an accident or injury due to the negligence of Uber, an Uber driver, or anyone that is injured while inside an Uber vehicle, Aigen Law Firm, is here to assist you. We understand that in this moment, especially when there is a death or an injured individual, that litigation may not be on your mind. However, your lawyer at Aigen Law Firm will be available to guide you, protect your rights, answer all your questions, and fight to ensure that you maximize your recovery against all responsible parties. Please do not hesitate to submit an online FREE CASE REVIEW. At Aigen Law Firm, an experienced lawyer is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week working relentlessly on behalf of victims who suffer from all types of accidents. We offer a free consultation for your personal injury case and there is no fee unless we recover for you.