Operator of Autonomous Car Charged in Pedestrian Death

TEMPE, AZ – The backup driver monitoring a self-driving Uber when it fatally struck a pedestrian has been charged with negligent homicide two years after the incident.

According to CNBC, 46-year-old Rafaela Vasquez was allegedly watching a television show when the autonomous vehicle hit 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg on August 27th, 2018.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that Uber’s less-than-adequate safety procedures and failure to properly monitor drivers also contributed to the accident. However, Uber will not face any criminal charges at this time.

The NTSB report stated that Uber’s detection system noticed Herzberg 5.6 seconds prior to the crash. The system failed to identify her as a pedestrian heading into the path of the vehicle, putting the burden on Vazquez to manually stop the vehicle.

Since Vazques failed to prevent the fatal collision, she has been indicted on a charge of negligent homicide. The trial is scheduled to begin in February 2021.



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