Distracted Driving May Have Been an Issue in Fatal Uber Accident
A tragic fatal accident occurred in an Uber vehicle. Accidents involving Uber cars are far too common, and victims should consult with a Miami accident attorney when a collision happens to determine options available for pursuing a claim when these types of crashes happen.
What made this accident unusual, however, was that the crash involved a self-driving Uber car. The vehicle had a safety driver aboard who was supposed to be monitoring the self-driving car to prevent tragedy but unfortunately Reuters reports that the safety driver was streaming a television show on her phone instead of paying attention to the road. The alleged distraction of the safety driver is believed to have played a major role in the crash, which has been described as entirely avoidable.
Safety Driver’s Distraction May Have Caused Fatal Accident
According to Reuters, the accident with the self-driving Uber occurred when the car hit a 49-year-old pedestrian who was crossing the street. The incident happened at night, and the victim was a homeless woman who was in the process of walking her bicycle across a four-lane road. The front ride side of the Volvo struck and killed her.
Police indicated that a video from inside of the self-driving vehicle revealed that the safety driver, who was supposed to be monitoring the self-driving vehicle’s operations, was looking down for approximately seven minutes out of the 22 minutes before the fatal accident happened.
The police investigating the accident contacted Hulu in order to request records that would reveal whether the safety driver was watching a movie or a TV show at the time of the incident. The safety driver indicates that she was monitoring the interface of the self-driving car at the time, not watching anything.
However, Hulu records show that the safety driver’s account was streaming the television show, The Voice, for approximately 42 minutes immediately leading up to the time the accident occurred. The streaming ended at 9:59 PM, which is when the crash happened.
As Reuters indicates, there is a possibility that the safety driver could be charged with vehicular manslaughter if it is determined she was responsible for the collision because of her distraction. Prosecutors are assessing whether to file criminal charges, but police have suggested that had the safety driver stepped on the brakes, the accident likely could have been avoided.
Records indicate that the driver looked up from her phone only .5 seconds prior to the fatal accident, while her head had been down for 5.3 seconds in the time immediately leading up to the accident. Reports also show the safety driver began to hit the brakes in the Volvo less than a second after hitting the pedestrian.
While the circumstances surrounding this collision were unusual because of the fact the car was self-driving and the safety driver wasn’t paying attention, crashes involving Uber drivers – and crashes involving distracted drivers – happen far too regularly. If you or someone you love is hurt by such a crash, it’s important to contact a Miami accident attorney for help pursuing a claim to obtain compensation for losses.