Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir says that Uber’s self-driving car likely wasn’t at fault in the recent death of a pedestrian.

Elaine Herzberg, 49, died in Tempe, Arizona, after being hit by an Uber self-driving car outside of a crosswalk on March 18 around 10pm. The vehicle was in self-driving mode, but it had a human driver behind the wheel for back-up when the collision occurred.

Uber’s self-driving cars are fitted with multiple video cameras, which showed a woman pushing a bicycle laden with plastic shopping bags abruptly walking from a center median into a lane of traffic. 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.

The incident happened within perhaps 100 yards of a crosswalk, Moir said. “It is dangerous to cross roadways in the evening hour when well-illuminated, managed crosswalks are available.”

According to Bloomberg, Uber paused all of its autonomous vehicle pilots in San Francisco, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Toronto after the fatal incident, and the ride-share company has stated its commitment to assist with the investigation of the incident. Toyota also decided to temporarily halt its self-driving car tests following the incident, too, according to Reuters.

Police Chief Moir stated that she would not rule out the potential of filing charges if investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration find the back-up driver in the Uber vehicle to be at fault. But, if the vehicle itself is the culprit, Moir did not have a firm answer on next steps.

“This is really new ground we’re venturing into,” she said.

Featured image courtesy of Uber

*This post has been updated to include the information on Toyota pausing its self-driving car tests.

Know before you go.

News and deals straight to your inbox every day.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.