Uber car's 'safety' driver streamed TV show before fatal crash

Uber car's 'safety' driver streamed TV show before fatal crash

Uber car's 'safety' driver streamed TV show before fatal crash

Police say an Uber driver whose self-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian was streaming a television show on her phone when the accident happened.

According to the spreadsheet of watch data from Hulu, Vasquez was streaming television episodes for approximately three hours the night of the crash.

Video from inside the vehicle shows Herzberg glances down more than 200 times and "appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the time she is looking down", the report states.

The Tempe Police Department released a 318-page document late Thursday that sheds new light on what likely happened when the vehicle hit pedestrian Elaine Herzberg, 49, in March as she walked a bicycle across a road in Tempe.

Ms Herzberg, who had been walking her bike, died from her injuries in hospital.

Analysis of video taken from the vehicle shows Vasquez looked downward 204 times in the 11.8 miles traveled before the crash.

Police were able to obtain records of Vasquez's account from the television streaming service Hulu LLC, which showed she'd streamed the talent show for 42 minutes on the night of the March 18 crash.

It is not yet clear if Vasquez will be charged - though police submitted their findings to county prosecutors who will make the determination.

Uber said it is cooperating with ongoing investigations and conducting its own internal safety review. After the incident which took place in March, Uber announced that they are closing self-driving vehicle operation in Arizona.


The report also noted that Uber's cars did not have a mechanism for alerting drivers about potential dangers. The Uber self-driving program was suspended after the fatality and the Arizona program shut down. But the system couldn't activate the brakes because, according to Uber, emergency braking isn't enabled while the vehicle is under computer control, the report said.

Vasquez had also told police she had her hands "hovering" over the wheel.

Uber had hoped to return its self-driving cars to Pittsburgh's streets by the end of the June.

However, police have determined the collision was "entirely avoidable".

Both Vasquez and Uber could still face civil liability in the case, Uber for potentially negligent hiring, training and supervision, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of SC law professor who closely follows autonomous vehicles. The report found that Vasquez "was distracted and looking down" for close to seven of the almost 22 minutes before the collision.

Raw video: Cameras mounted inside the auto catches the fatal moment.

At the same time, Vasquez was convicted of unsworn falsification committed in 1999, meaning she made a false statement to a public officials, and received a concurrent one year sentence.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators examining the Volvo that was involved in the crash. "The operator further stated that although her personal and business phones were in the vehicle, neither was in use until after the crash, when she called 911", according to the NTSB.

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