Uber Technologies is not criminally Responsible in a March 2018 crash in Tempe, Arizona, in which one of Their company’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
The Yavapai County Attorney stated in a letter made public there was”no basis for criminal liability” for Uber, but that the backup driver, Rafaela Vasquez, should be referred to the Tempe authorities for additional investigation.
Prosecutors’ decision to not pursue criminal charges eliminates one potential annoyance for the ride-hailing business as the company’s executives try to work out a long list of national investigations, lawsuits and other legal dangers before a hotly anticipated initial public offering this season.
The fatal accident was a setback where the company has yet to regain; its autonomous car testing remains radically reduced.
The accident was also a setback to the whole autonomous vehicle business and led other companies to temporarily halt their testing. Scrutiny has mounted on the nascent technology, which introduces deadly risks but has minimal oversight from regulators.
Vasquez has not previously commented and couldn’t immediately be reached on Tuesday.
Based on a video taken inside the vehicle, documents collected from online entertainment streaming service Hulu and other evidence, police said a year that Vasquez was looking down along with loading a episode of the tv show”The Voice” on a telephone until roughly the time of the crash. The driver looked up a half-second before hitting Elaine Herzberg, 49, who died from her injuries.
Police called the incident”entirely avoidable.”
Yavapai County Attorney’s Office, that examined the case in the request of Maricopa County where the incident happened, did not explain the reasoning for not finding criminal liability from Uber. Yavapai sent the case back to Maricopa, calling for additional expert analysis of the movie to ascertain what the driver should’ve seen that evening.
An Uber spokeswoman declined to comment on the correspondence.
The National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are still exploring.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office did not immediately comment on Tuesday.
Uber in December filed confidentially to get an initial public offering and is expected to seek out a valuation of up to $120 billion. Its self-driving program, which costs hundreds of millions of bucks and does not generate revenue yet, is likely to come under scrutiny by investors.
The ride-hailing company, which last year dropped about $3.3 billion, is betting on a transition to self-driving automobiles to get rid of the requirement to pay drivers.
At an autonomous vehicles summit in Silicon Valley last week, industry leaders resisted the loss of confidence in the public, regulators and investors that lingers a year after the Uber crash. There’s not any consensus on security standards for the business.
In March 2018, police in Arizona suspended Uber’s ability to test its own self-driving cars. Uber also voluntarily halted its whole autonomous automobile testing program and left Arizona.
In December, Uber declared limited self-driving automobile testing in Pittsburgh, restricting the automobiles to a small loop that they can drive only in fine weather. The business is currently testing with two people in the front seat and much more strictly monitors security drivers. The company also said last year it made improvements to the vehicles’ self-driving applications.
Uber has not declared testing in San Francisco or Toronto, where it formerly had programs.