Prosecutors have confirmed that Uber is not criminally liable concerning the infamous March 2018 crash in Arizona when one of its autonomous vehicles hit and killed a pedestrian.
Reuters reports that the Yavapai County Attorney said that there was “no basis for criminal liability” for Uber. The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office examined the case at the request of Maricopa County, where the accident happened, but hasn’t explained why there’s no basis for criminal liability against Uber.
Prosecutors did say that the back-up driver behind the wheel of the semi-autonomous vehicle, Rafaela Vasquez, should be referred to the Tempe police for additional investigation. The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office has also called for further expert analysis of video from the crash to determine what Vasquez would have been able to see.
Police determined last year that Vasquez was streaming an episode of ‘The Voice’ on her phone at the time of the accident. Onboard footage from the vehicle showed her looking down at her phone and only looking up half a second before the autonomous prototype stuck and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg.
Knowing that it won’t face criminal charges for the crash makes things a little easier for Uber as it prepares to launch an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. However, the ride-hailing company still has a number of federal inquiries, lawsuits, and other things to deal with; both the National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continue to investigate the fatal accident.
Uber has declined to comment about the prosecutor’s decision.