The Uber driver of the self-driving car that killed a woman in the US in 2018 has been charged with culpable death. The woman would not have paid close attention because she checked her phone while driving. She herself claims to be innocent.
The jurors report that the Uber driver would have been negligent. The recommended prison sentence for culpable death in Arizona is an average of 2.5 years, with a minimum of one and a maximum of 3.75 years. At the same time, the jury states that the crime involved a ‘dangerous instrument’, which would increase the minimum sentence to four years, with a maximum of eight. The driver himself pleaded not to be guilty.
A kind of pre-trial hearing will take place on 27 October, during which the case will not yet be discussed in detail and the main issue is which evidence will and will not be admitted and which witnesses will be heard. Possible settlements can also be presented during such a hearing. The lawsuit should officially start on February 11, 2021, CNBC writes.
The victim, a 49-year-old woman, crossed a street in Arizona in March 2018 with a bicycle in her hand, after which she was scooped by the suspect’s self-driving Volvo XC90. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board showed, among other things, that the software in the XC90 did not recognize the victim as a pedestrian. The NTSB also stated in November that the accident could have been prevented if the driver had ‘paid attention’. A police report showed that the driver was busy with her phone during part of the trip, although she herself denies it.
Uber itself has not been charged in the accident. In March 2018, the company reached a settlement with the victim’s family, Ars Technica writes. In June 2019, prosecutors from Arizona also decided to drop a possible lawsuit against Uber.