Self Driving Car Kills Pedestrian Crossing Street

This law website is concerned with South African law, but for a few moments I would like to turn our attention to another part of the world – Arizona in the U.S.

Uber has tested its self driving cars in Arizona and a tragic event occurred. The self-driving car killed a pedestrian.


The question I think everyone is asking is who is responsible? Was it the pedestrian, the company Uber, the safety-driver in the car at the time? What effect will this technology have on the law, in areas of murder and manslaughter?

More information on the incident can be found here.

To look at legislation that has been enacted in America for driverless cars please follow this link 

Each year, the number of states considering legislation related to autonomous vehicles has gradually increased.

  • In 2017, 33 states have introduced legislation. Last year, 20 states introduced legislation.
  • Sixteen states introduced legislation in 2015, up from 12 states in 2014, nine states and D.C. in 2013, and six states in 2012.
  • Since 2012, at least 41 states and D.C. have considered legislation related to autonomous vehicles.
  • Twenty-one states—Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Vermont—and Washington D.C. have passed legislation related to autonomous vehicles.
  • Governors in Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin have issued executive orders or announced initiatives related to autonomous vehicles.

I do not think we will be seeing driver-less cars in our future here in South Africa, not for a long time but with the proliferation of Uber we should be weary when companies of this magnitude start to change processes in fundamental systems like transport.

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