Uber resumes road testing of its self-driving cars just nine months after a pedestrian was killed by one of the company’s autonomous cars. The multi-billion-dollar ride-hailing giant pulled its self-driving cars from the U.S. roads in March 2018 after a fatal accident that resulted in the death of an Arizona woman.
As of December 20, 2018, Uber’s self-driving cars are back on the road, and pedestrians all across the nation are concerned for their safety, for obvious reasons. Ever since the fatal Uber accident involving a self-driving car, experts and non-experts alike have weighed in on the reasonableness of road tests involving self-driving vehicles.
Is putting Uber’s self-driving cars back on U.S. roads reasonable or risky?
Despite the public outcry triggered by the fatal Uber crash in March, Uber claims it has conducted a “top-to-bottom” audit of its policies in order to improve safety during road tests. “But this is hardly enough to reassure pedestrians living in the states where Uber is going to resume testing of its self-driving vehicles,” says our Los Angeles Uber accident attorney from Compass Law Group, P.C.
After its repeated vows to enhance safety and improve operations before returning its self-driving cars to the U.S. roads, Uber is resuming road tests of self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh. In San Francisco and Toronto, meanwhile, the company is going to conduct manual testing, in which a human driver is operating the vehicle.
How the fatal Uber accident in March stalled self-driving development
For years before the fatal crash in March, Uber had been rapidly progressing in its development of self-driving vehicles, but the fatal accident involving an Uber SUV in autonomous mode left the ride-hailing giant back at square one. The March crash that killed a female pedestrian stalled development and encouraged the company to suspend its self-driving car operations across the U.S.
But nine months later, Uber’s self-driving cars are back on the road, and pedestrians are none too pleased. As the reasonableness of the company’s decision to put its self-driving vehicles back on the U.S. roads continues to divide safety advocates and pro-autonomy advocates, Uber accident attorneys in Los Angeles and all across the United States get an enormous number of calls from concerned Americans regarding liability in accidents caused by self-driving vehicles.
What caused the fatal Uber crash back in March 2018?
In the March accident, the Uber’s self-driving vehicle failed to slow down for the designated back-up human driver to manually brake in time to avoid a collision even though the SUV did recognize the woman crossing the street. After its thorough investigation of the fatal crash, the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that the accident was caused as a result of malfunctioning in Uber’s self-driving system.
Now, with Uber’s self-driving cars back on the road, and with Uber claiming that its vehicles are now “considerate and defensive drivers,” legal experts will have to grapple with uncertainties regarding liability in motor vehicle accidents involving autonomous vehicles.
Liability in Uber accidents involving self-driving cars
“As Uber and other ride-hailing companies will be putting more self-driving vehicles on the American roads, an increasing number of motor vehicle crashes involving self-driving cars will trigger a shift from vehicular negligence to product liability,” warns our Uber accident attorney Los Angeles.
As of today, about 90 percent of all car accidents are caused by human error and can be tied to the legal doctrine of vehicular negligence. But with more self-driving cars on the U.S. roads, there will be more product liability claims against companies that manufacture, sell, and distribute defective or dangerous cars or their parts and components.
As a result, recovering damages in car accidents caused by self-driving vehicles can get very complicated and exhausting.