One year after a woman was killed by an Uber self-driving car, officials announced that Uber will not face any criminal charges. The accident occurred in Tempe, Arizona. The woman was walking a bicycle across a road at night. Uber’s self-driving software system initially classified the woman as an unknown object, then a vehicle, then a bicycle, but it never braked.
Arizona officials said that it conducted a detailed review of the evidence and decided there was no basis for criminal liability against Uber. Officials refused to answer any questions about the case or to detail how the decision was made. However, there was an Uber employee behind the wheel who was supposed to intervene if the car was not acting properly. She could still face criminal charges.
Experts say that it is not clear whether Uber will not be charged because it did not have any criminal responsibility for the accident, or because there was no law under which the company could be charged. Many believe that technology executives should not face criminal liability in cases such as this, and should only face criminal liability if there was evidence the company knew people’s lives would be lost and ignored that information. Although Uber is not facing criminal charges, it has been harmed by the accident. As a result of the accident, Uber closed its self-driving vehicle division, laying off 300 workers.
It will be interesting to see how laws and policies around self-driving vehicles evolve over the next few years and decades. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a self-driving vehicle, you should speak with an attorney. Call me, Conal Doyle, Los Angeles personal injury attorney, at 310-385-0567. I can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.