last week’s Uber-involved crash should highlight the current state of affairs: Drivers are dangerous. Tempe Police cited a “human” driver for making a bad left at McClintock and Apache causing the crash with the Uber/Volvo SUV to rollover on its side. The Uber was being autonomously driven at the time, according to the company.
There are over 100,000 reported wrecks per year in Arizona involving motor vehicle drivers only, with hundreds dead and thousands injured; a driver is at fault in each and every one of those incidents.
…On Friday, a driver in Tempe was cited for making an illegal left turn and hitting one of Uber’s test cars, which was in self-driving mode
Most at Fault
In Arizona, every reported MV crash assigns fault, “Most-at-fault”, to the operator of unit #1. Traffic units are either a vehicle, a bicycle (“pedalcycle”) or a Pedestrian.
All crashes, by definition involve at least one MV; and as noted above the vast majority only involve a motor vehicle (a “single vehicle” crash) or motor vehicles. A small percentage involve in addition to a MV, a bicycle or a pedestrian (both about only 2% each).
In case you are wondering about MV-bike, or MV-ped crash fault-rates, they run about 50:50. For the period 2009-2015 the rate for bicyclists was 51% bicyclist-at-fault vs. 49% motorist-at-fault. There is some indication that bicyclists are over-faulted, that is to say faulted when there is no violation; but that would just be quibbling.
Motorists have higher fault rates in MV-ped crashes, 60:40 for the same period mentioned above.
There are about 110,000 total reported wrecks per year lately in AZ, fewer than 2% of those involve a bicyclist, likewise fewer than 2% involve a pedestrian.
3/18/2018 An autonomously operating Uber struck and killed a pedestrian (she happened to be pushing a bike) while crossing Mill Ave somewhere south of Curry not at a crosswalk (mid-block). This would be the first known pedestrian fatality involving an AV. Fox10 news. The Recode story mentions NTSB announced they are sending a team to investigate circumstances. It would be great if the NTSB would send a full team to any of the other 40,000 or so traffic fatalities per year.
According to the Tempe Police News conference: The Uber vehicle was northbound on Mill “just south” of the intersection with Curry, and the pedestrian was crossing from west to east across Mill. It was mentioned video has numerous video cameras and the officer said he’s seen it but of course hasn’t yet (if ever) been released. No mention or even a question about the signal. A couple of interesting questions —
“was she homeless?”
“I don’t have that information… but i believe she may have been”.
“do you know if it was one of those yellow bikes that you just pick up and…”
“Yeah, I know that’s new information here, and, uh, I don’t have that information at this time”
Info will be trickling out but there were a few odd things said by Tempe Police Chief reported e.g. by www.sfchronicle.com:
Traveling at 38 mph in a 35 (really? it seems like it’s actually higher) mph zone on Sunday night, the Uber self-driving car made no attempt to brake, according to the Police Department’s preliminary investigation…
From viewing the videos, “it’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode (autonomous or human-driven) based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway,” Moir said.
“I suspect preliminarily it appears that the Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident, either,” Moir said.
She later was reported to have walked back the last statement, saying “Tempe police do not determine fault” which seems like an odd thing to say; what about Most at Fault per Arizona Crash Report?