Arizona Governor Doug Ducey decided to stop Uber from testing its self-driving cars after a fatal accident in Tempe.
On March 18, an Uber self-driving car (Volvo SUV) hit and killed a pedestrian named Elaine Herzberg. The accident happened on Mill Avenue near Arizona State University.
On March 21, a video released by Tempe police showed that the Volvo SUV was in self-driving mode. A back-up driver was behind the wheel, but he appeared distracted as he was looking down until just seconds before the crash. It was the first deadly accident involving a self-driving car in the United States.
Yesterday, Gov. Ducey sent a letter to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi about the suspension of the company’s self-driving car testing. The governor said the video of the accident was “disturbing and alarming.” He also stressed that it “raises many questions about the ability of Uber to operate” the autonomous technology in Arizona.
Gov. Ducey ‘s top priority is public safety
In addition, Gov. Ducey stated, “As governor, my top priority is public safety. Improving public safety has always been the emphasis of Arizona’s approach to autonomous vehicle testing.”
Furthermore, the governor said he expected that public safety is also the top priority for all companies operating the technology. According to him, the deadly accident is “an unquestionable failure to comply with this expectation.”
Moreover, Gov. Ducey told Khosrowshahi that suspending Uber from testing its self-driving cars is in the best interest of the people of Arizona.
He concluded his letter by saying, “Arizona will not tolerate any less than an unequivocal commitment to public safety.”
Uber will keep an open dialogue with the governor’s office
In response to the governor’s action, Uber tweeted, “We proactively suspended self-driving operations in all cities immediately following the tragic accident last week. We continue to help investigators in any way we can.”
The company added, “We’ll keep a dialogue open with the Governor’s office to address any concerns they have.”