Uber is not currently being held criminally liable for the crash in Tempe, Arizona in which one of its self-driving vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian while she crossed a highway at night.
Fox News reports that Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk ruled Uber won’t yet face criminal charges over the crash in March 2018, which is believed to be the first fatality in the US involving a self-driving vehicle, after her office concluded that video of the crash likely didn’t accurately depict the collision and has recommended that Tempe police seek more evidence.
It’s not known whether prosecutors are considering charges against the driver.
The report recalls how dashcam video released by the Tempe Police Department last year showed an interior view of Uber backup driver Rafael Vasquez in the moments before the crash. She told investigators she wasn’t using her phone before the crash, but the video shows her looking down inside the car.
Moments later, exterior footage shows the moments leading up to a pedestrian being hit by the Uber Volvo XC-90. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was pushing a bicycle across a street in the darkness when she was fatally struck by the vehicle, which was moving at about 44 miles per hour.
The report says authorities revealed that Vasquez had been watching “The Voice” prior to the crash. Investigators concluded that if Vasquez wasn’t distracted, the crash wouldn’t have occurred, but Vasquez told authorities that Herzberg “came out of nowhere,” and didn’t see her prior to the collision.
The report also says that officers calculated that had Vasquez been paying attention, she could have reacted 143 feet before impact, and could have brought the SUV to a stop about 42.6 feet before hitting Herzberg.