Oklahoma City Law Firm Of Brown & Gould

What Does the Recent Pedestrian Death Caused by a Self-Driving Car Mean for Driverless Vehicles?


In mid-March 2018, a self-driving car owned by Uber struck a pedestrian in Arizona, causing injuries that led to her death. Based on news reports, the accident happened when the woman walked in front of the vehicle, and the vehicle failed to automatically apply its brakes or attempt to avoid the woman. The incident is a tragic one, and has raised many questions about Uber (which has already been under fire for other issues), liability for accidents like this, and what the future will look like for driverless vehicles.

How Did This Happen?

As reported by the same news article cited above, experts say that they’re not shocked that the technology in the Uber self-driving vehicle failed, or that someone was killed, but that they are shocked by how dramatically the technology failed; artificial intelligence isn’t supposed to struggle with object/person avoidance, nor applying brakes when possible. As a note, there was also a driver within the self-driving vehicle, although the driver failed to respond in time.

Many experts are also saying that in this case, at least, the pedestrian may have been at fault. What’s more, it should be noted that even in cases when technology fails so egregiously, if a pedestrian or other party contributed to the incident, they could be held partly liable.

What’s the Future Look Like?

The incident certainly raises questions and doubts about whether self-driving vehicles are ready to be on the road, the efficacy of Uber’s training for its safety drivers, and what degree of liability self-driving car owners/manufacturers will hold when an accident occurs. While self-driving cars are likely inevitable and will probably make their way to the roads and become ubiquitous at some point in the future, the recent accident may encourage manufacturers to slow down, and spend more time perfecting and testing technology before cars are put on the road.

Contact Our Law Offices if You’ve Been in a Crash

At the law offices of Brown & Gould, PLLC, we offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the woman killed in the Uber-vehicle pedestrian accident. For others who have been harmed in collisions, our legal team is here to provide you with the support and guidance you need after a crash, and can help you to seek compensation for your own injuries, or the wrongful death of a loved one. Contact our legal team today for a free consultation.

Contact Us Today

Areas We Serve

Brown & Gould, PLLC,
136 NW 10th Street
Suite 200
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Phone: 405-235-4500
Fax: 405-235-4507    
The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, law office of Brown & Gould, PLLC, serves the nearby cities of Moore, Norman, Edmond, Nichols Hills, Midwest City, Del City, Yukon, Mustang, El Reno, Shawnee, Tulsa and other areas, including Oklahoma County, Cleveland County, Canadian County, McClain County, Pottawatomie County, Tulsa County, Logan County and throughout the state of Texas in the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and Austin.