Self Driving Uber Cars Involved in 37 Crashes Before Killing Pedestrian

Self Driving Uber Cars Involved in 37 Crashes Before Killing Pedestrian

An Uber self-driving test vehicle that struck and killed an Arizona woman in 2018 was found to have software flaws, according to what the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday as it disclosed the company’s autonomous test vehicles were involved in 37 crashes over the prior 18 months.

NTSB may use the findings from the first fatal self-driving car accident to make recommendations that could impact how the entire industry addresses self-driving software issues or to regulators about how to oversee the developing industry.

The board meets Nov. 19 to determine the probable cause of the March 2018 accident in Tempe, Arizona that killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she was walking a bicycle across a street at night.

In a report released ahead of the meeting, the NTSB said the Uber Technologies Inc vehicle had failed to properly identify her as a pedestrian crossing a street. The accident prompted significant safety concerns about the nascent self-driving car industry, which is working to get vehicles into commercial use. In the aftermath of the crash, Uber suspended all testing and did not resume until December in Pennsylvania with revised software and significant new restrictions and safeguards.

A spokeswoman for Uber’s self-driving car effort, Sarah Abboud, said the company regretted the crash that killed Herzberg and noted it has “adopted critical program improvements to further prioritize safety. We deeply value the thoroughness of the NTSB’s investigation into the crash and look forward to reviewing their recommendations. The NTSB reported at least two prior crashes in which Uber test vehicles may not have identified roadway hazards. The NTSB said between September 2016 and March 2018, there were 37 crashes of Uber vehicles in autonomous mode, including 33 that involved another vehicle striking test vehicles.

In one incident, the test vehicle struck a bent bicycle lane post that partially occupied the test vehicle’s lane of travel. In another incident, the operator took control to avoid a rapidly approaching vehicle that entered its lane of travel. The vehicle operator steered away and struck a parked car.

NTSB said Uber conducted simulation of sensor data from the Arizona crash with the revised software and told the agency the new software would have been able to detect the pedestrian 88 meters (289 feet) or 4.5 seconds before impact. The car’s system would have started to brake 4 seconds before impact. In the actual accident, the test vehicle did not correctly identify the bicycle as an imminent collision until 1.2 seconds before the impact. It was too late for the Uber car to avoid the crash.

“The system design did not include consideration for jaywalking pedestrians,” NTSB said.

The Uber car also initiated a one-second delay of planned braking while the vehicle calculated an alternative path or the safety driver could take over. Uber has since discontinued that function as part of its software update. NTSB during its investigation it “communicated several safety-relevant issue areas (to Uber) that were uncovered during the course of the investigation.”

In March, prosecutors in Arizona said Uber was not criminally liable in the self-driving crash. Police have investigated whether the safety driver who was behind the wheel and supposed to respond in the event of an emergency should face criminal charges. Police have said the crash was “entirely avoidable” and that the backup driver was watching “The Voice” TV program at the time of the crash.

Perry & Young is a nationally recognized personal injury, car accident, & commercial trucking accident law firm that has cultivated a reputation for our ability to successfully resolve even the most challenging cases. Over 35 years of experience, our award-winning team has secured multi-millions in numerous verdicts and settlements for clients across Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and all over the country.  Learn more about our services, your potential case and rights, and how we can help by calling (850) 215-7777 for a FREE consultation.

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2 suffer fatal injuries helping out a friend

When Florida residents get a call from a friend in need, most of them will do what they can to help. Most people never imagine that providing such assistance will put their lives in danger. Sadly, this is what happened to two people who recently suffered fatal injuries while one was lending a helping hand to the other.

A 29-year-old man was driving through a construction zone and got stuck. He called his friend, a 22-year-old woman, and asked for her help. She and her fiance went to his location to help him. After their arrival, a man driving a dump truck stopped to see if he could be of assistance as well.

While the dump truck was backing up, the driver somehow failed to notice that the woman and her friend who was stuck were behind the truck. They were both struck and killed. To make matters worse, the woman was in the last trimester of her pregnancy.

The man who was driving the dump truck began having chest pains after the accident and was transported to Florida Hospital for treatment. His current condition is not known. The Florida Highway Patrol is conducting the investigation, and a decision has not yet been made regarding whether to file any charges in connection with this incident but they say that charges are pending.

The families of the two victims retain the right to file wrongful death claims. If the evidence presented to the court indicates that the fatal injuries suffered by the victims were due to the negligence of another, an award of damages could be ordered. Any monetary restitution the families receive could help with the unexpected financial losses that accompany tragedies such as this.

Source: news4jax.com, “Palm Coast man, pregnant woman killed in accident“, Ashley Mitchem, Feb. 12, 2016

Truck driver dies in fiery crash on I-75, others injured

Truck accidents that occur on Florida’s interstates can easily involve several vehicles. The size of an 18-wheeler alone can block a highway’s lanes, making it impossible for some vehicles to avoid colliding with the wreckage of the first accident. If a truck driver is careless or reckless and causes a crash, many people could be injured or killed.

At last report, officers with the Florida Highway Patrol are still attempting to ascertain the cause of an accident involving two semi trucks and several other passenger vehicles that occurred on Nov. 18 on Interstate 75. What is known so far is that around 5:11 p.m., one of the big rigs was traveling north and suddenly careened across the median, over the guardrail and into the southbound lanes. It then hit another semi truck before it jackknifed. The truck came to rest across all three of the southbound lanes and caught fire.

Five other vehicles on the south side of the interstate were involved in a chain-reaction crash as they attempted to avoid the truck. The driver of the truck that was originally on the northbound side of the highway died in the wreckage. Two men from the five-vehicle crash suffered serious injuries. At last report, one of them was in serious condition while the other remained in critical condition. The other people involved suffered either minor injuries or no injuries at all.

The two men who were seriously injured are most likely incurring significant financial losses as they struggle to recover from the accident. They retain the right to file personal injury claims against the estate of the truck driver, the driver’s employer and any other parties who may have caused or contributed to their injuries. If negligence is proved, a Florida court may enter a monetary judgment as restitution.

Source: gainesville.com, “Florida Highway Patrol reveals details of fatal I-75 crashes“, Nov. 30, 2015

Widower files lawsuit in the aftermath of fatal truck accident

March 2 was likely the worst day of one Florida man’s life. It was the day that he lost his wife and three children in a truck accident. What makes this man’s loss even more traumatic is the fact that he heard it all happen on the phone.

His wife’s vehicle broke down on a bridge. She and their three children — ages 18, 17 and 6 — were in the vehicle with her. As she talked to her husband, cars flew past them. Then, his wife expressed concern about a truck barrelling toward her car.

The man heard the impact and stayed on the phone until it went dead. He attempted to get to the scene as quickly as he could, but the accident backed up traffic. Police report that the vehicle burst into flames after being struck by the 18-wheeler. The fire burned so hot that it melted items in the vehicle, such as the victims’ clothes and shoes. The impact was so hard that the back seats ended up in the front part of the passenger compartment.

The Florida man has exercised his right to file wrongful death claims against the driver of the truck and the company for which the trucker was driving at the time of this tragic truck accident. At last report, police were still attempting to ascertain why the truck driver did not even slow down prior to the impact. The fact that the truck did not slow, however, could be offered as evidence of negligence. If the court determines that this man’s family died due to the negligence of another, the man may be awarded monetary damages, which will not bring back his family, but could provide him with at least some sense of justice.

Source: 11alive.com, “Father on phone, hears crash that killed wife, kids“, Clark Foreaker, Nov. 4, 2015

DUI suspect in custody dies in truck accident

At approximately 9 p.m. on a recent Saturday night, the Florida Highway Patrol received a call regarding a vehicle that crashed into the guardrail on the inside northbound lane of of Interstate 75. When a trooper arrived at the scene, he suspected the driver of being impaired. While in the custody of the trooper, the man became the victim of a truck accident.

The trooper had put the driver into his patrol car in order to move him to the opposite shoulder of the Interstate in order to perform a field sobriety test. A Sheriff’s deputy from the area arrived on scene to block the inside lane in order to provide the trooper with safe passage. The deputy’s patrol car had its lights and sirens activated to alert northbound drivers.

Tragically, a truck failed to move into the other lane. It struck the patrol car occupied by the suspected drunk driver. The man died from the injuries he suffered in the impact.

The trooper survived the crash but suffered a fractured vertebrae, broken nose and fractured skull. At last report, his condition was listed as serious. The truck driver was uninjured.

While the Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate the truck accident, the family of the deceased victim may choose to exercise its right to file a wrongful death claim against the party or parties who caused or contributed to the death of their loved one. Successfully establishing negligence to the court’s satisfaction could result in an award of damages. A monetary judgment could help the family recover from the financial losses incurred in this tragedy.

Source: nbc-2.com, “Passenger in FHP patrol car killed in crash, trooper injured“, Aug. 30, 2015

Serious and fatal injuries suffered in box truck crash

A single vehicle accident can quickly involve multiple vehicles on a busy highway like Interstate 95. When a driver loses control of his or her vehicle, other vehicles on the road may not have time to avoid a collision. The Florida Highway Patrol reports that this was the cause of a crash that took place at approximately 1:30 a.m. on a recent Friday. One person was killed and three others suffered injuries.

The accident involved a box truck filled with thousands of pounds of newspapers, a wrecker towing a semi-truck and an SUV, all of which were heading northbound. Somehow, the driver of the box truck lost control of the vehicle. The truck bounced off the guardrail and flipped over in the northbound lanes.

The wrecker struck the box truck and then careened through the median, through the southbound lanes and into the woods on that side of the Interstate. The SUV struck the wreckage of the box truck as well. Not surprisingly, the driver of the box truck succumbed to fatal injuries in the crash.

The 63-year-old driver of the SUV was seriously injured and taken to an area hospital. Two other people who were in the SUV also suffered unknown injuries for which they, too, were transported to the hospital. The 30-year-old driver of the wrecker suffered minor injuries.

The parties who suffered injuries in this crash may be able to file personal injury claims against the estate of the box truck driver and the deceased trucker’s employer, along with any other parties who may be deemed responsible for the tragic accident. Establishing negligence could require a thorough reconstruction of the accident and other supporting evidence. If a Florida civil court rules that the parties’ injuries were caused by the negligent actions of another, an award of damages may be considered.

Source: firstcoastnews.com, “FHP: I-95 reopens after 1 killed in crash near St. Augustine outlets“, Sept. 18, 2015

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