Arizona Governor Doug Ducey informed Uber’s CEO in a letter on Monday that he was suspending the tech company’s tests of self-driving cars on Arizona roads after a pedestrian was killed on March 18.
Ducey said that he has directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend Uber’s ability to test its vehicles on public roadways. In his letter to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Ducey called the fatal crash “an unquestionable failure” for public safety.
The death of the pedestrian, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, occurred late at night on March 18 when one of Uber’s self-driving cars hit her while driving in autonomous mode on Mill Avenue in Tempe. Video of the collision released by Tempe police showed the Uber driver looking down until moments before the car struck Herzberg.
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Ducey threw open the doors to self-driving cars in Arizona, promoting the state as a haven for tech innovation unlike a more cautious and regulation-heavy California. But in the aftermath of Herzberg's death, Ducey said that safety remains the top priority.
In the letter, Ducey described the video of the crash as “disturbing and alarming, and it raises many questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona.”
“Arizona will not tolerate any less than an unequivocal commitment to public safety,” Ducey added.
An investigation by the New York Times last week revealed that Uber's self-driving cars in Arizona were not meeting expectations for autonomous mode even before the fatal crash.