Police Report Faults Back-Up Driver In Deadly Autonomous Uber Crash

By Stina Sieg
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 7:33pm
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Tempe police have concluded the deadly crash between an autonomous Uber SUV and a pedestrian would not have occurred if the vehicle’s backup driver had been watching the road. The department has released a 300-page report on the March 18 incident.

The report says driver Rafaela Vasquez was looking down for five seconds before the collision and glanced at the same spot more than 200 times in the 22 minutes before that. Documents obtained from Hulu say she was streaming the show “The Voice” at the time of the crash.

Afterward, Vasquez talked to an officer about the victim, Elaine Herzberg.

“I just – I feel bad for their family for their family,” she said, in a video captured on a body camera, “and then I’m worried about – I don’t really know what’s going to happen with my job, if I even have one.”

The report also faults Herzberg for crossing outside of a crosswalk. It does not however, does not blame Uber, which had turned off the vehicle’s emergency braking system. The company stopped testing its autonomous vehicles in Arizona after the crash.  

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