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Self-Driving Crash Sparks Regulations Discussion

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March 31, 2017—A recent accident that caused an Uber self-driving SUV to flip onto its side in Tempe, Ariz., has sparked a dialogue about autonomous vehicles in Arizona, the Associated Press recently reported.   

The recent crash occurred when an oncoming SUV turned left in front of the Uber vehicle, which carried two test drivers. There were no serious injuries from the accident, and the driver of the non-Uber vehicle was cited for a moving violation, but Uber responded by briefly suspending its self-driving vehicle testing in Arizona, as well as San Francisco and Pittsburgh as it investigated the accident.

Uber spokesperson Taylor Patterson said the company is operating more than a dozen of the 21 autonomous vehicles it has registered in Arizona, and some pick up passengers. In Arizona, companies like Uber only need to carry minimum liability insurance policies to operate self-driving vehicles, and they aren’t required to track crashes or report any information to the state.

Kevin Biesty, deputy director for policy for the Arizona Department of Transportation, said the state could set up a system to monitor local police accident reports involving self-driving cars but so far has chosen not to. Uber’s SUVs have been deployed in the Greater Phoenix area for more than three months, and police in both Phoenix and Tempe said they knew of no accidents before Friday.

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