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Safety Agency Says Distracted Driver Caused Fatal Uber Crash In Tempe

Tempe Police Department

The National Transportation Safety Board has condemned the lack of state and federal regulation for testing self-driving vehicles before finding that a distracted human safety driver was the main cause of last year’s fatal crash involving an Uber vehicle in Arizona.

A woman was killed by the Uber vehicle while crossing the street in Tempe.

The board criticized the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government’s road safety agency, for failing to lead in regulating tests on public roads. But it also said states need to adopt their own regulations.

NHTSA has issued voluntary guidelines including safety assessment reports from autonomous vehicle companies, but only 16 have filed such reports according to the NTSB. The board determined that the probable cause of the crash was the backup driver failing to monitor the road because she was distracted by watching a TV show on her mobile phone.

The NTSB says the Arizona Transportation Department’s insufficient oversight of autonomous vehicle testing also contributed to the fatal crash.

A spokesman for Governor Doug Ducey said the state appreciates the NTSB’s work and will review the recommendations.

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