EVERY day around 100 people are killed on America’s roads, including 16 pedestrians. Each death is a tragedy, but that of Elaine Herzberg, who died after being hit by a car in Tempe on the evening of March 18th, was a tragedy of a new kind. It was the first known case of a pedestrian being killed by a self-driving car. The accident has raised questions about whether America’s rules surrounding the testing of autonomous vehicles (AVs) are too lax.
The vehicle that struck Ms Herzberg was being tested in “autonomous mode” by Uber, a ride-hailing firm. Local police say it was travelling at 38mph (61kph) on a road with a speed limit of 45mph, and that video from the vehicle shows Ms Herzberg, who was wheeling a bicycle by the side of the road, stepping suddenly into the car’s path.