In a blistering report, the Federal Investigators have framed the blame between the ride-sharing company – Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE:UBER), the victim, the safety driver, and Arizona state officials for the fatal crash that involved self-driving vehicle of Uber in March 2018. It has also noted that the federal government failed to put in a proper mechanism to prevent such fatal accidents.
Factors responsible for fatal crash
The three-member committee found the following causes that lead to the fatal crash in 2018 after a two and half hour hearing of the NTSB (National Transport Safety Board) on November 19, 2019, in Washington DC.
- Rafaela Vasquez, the self-driving vehicle operator of Uber, failed to monitor the automated driving system and the road because she is immersed in the streaming TV show on her cell phone for the entire trip. According to the police, she spent 34% of her time on the phone while on the self-driving Uber vehicle on that fateful night and focused on the road just one second before the crash.
- It highlights the inadequate safety mechanisms in place at self-driving vehicles operated by Uber. The three-member panel blasted the riding sharing company for not positioning the safety division. It said Uber did not appoint a dedicated safety manager for the risk assessment and the mitigation.
- Uber’s vehicles are equipped with cameras to monitor the activity of safety drivers in the vehicles. It has not hired the safety manager to monitor the safety drivers and mitigate the risks by preventing them from using the cell phone.
- Uber lacks a mechanism to address the safety, and riding on its vehicles poses a risk to the riders and people on the road.
- Elaine Herzberg, who is the victim in the fatal crash, possessed methamphetamines in her body at the time of the accident, and that made her cross the road and resulting in death.
- Insufficient policies of Arizona to prevent accidents on the road leading to the death of Elaine Herzberg.
No formal plan at Uber to ensure safety
According to several documents released by NTSB, Uber has not put in place the proper safety mechanism to prevent a fatal crash. It prompted Uber to suspend the testing of self-driving vehicles for several months.