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Uber driver in self-driving car was watching videos before crash

Arizona police have concluded that the woman at the helm of a self-driving Uber vehicle that struck and killed a pedestrian was watching the television series, The Voice, on her smartphone when the accident happened. According to authorities, the fatal accident could have been avoided if the driver had been paying attention to the road as she was supposed to be.

Police allege that the woman had been streaming the popular television program for 43 minutes prior to the fatal accident. A woman was crossing a dark section of roadway, and she was not in a pedestrian crossing zone, at the time the collision occurred on March 18 earlier this year.

According to video camera footage from inside the car, the woman looked down 204 times while she was traveling approximately 1 mile. She looked up approximately a half-second before striking the woman while riding about 50 mph.

In the driver's own words, the pedestrian came out of nowhere, but police allege that if the driver had been watching the road instead of her smartphone, she would have been able to stop approximately 12 meters prior to hitting the pedestrian.

According to some legal analysts, both the woman behind the wheel and Uber will likely be civilly liable for damages that occurred in this case. It's also possible that the woman could face criminal charges. Automatically driven vehicles certainly bring unique questions to mind when it comes to accidents, fault and liability. As this technology becomes more ubiquitous in society, we may find ourselves asking a lot more questions concerning driver liability in self-driving car crashes.

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  • Paul Faith David Ledyard Distinguished AV | Peer Review Rated | LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell | For Ethical Standards & Legal Ability

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