Nor was it simply about Uber, an aggressive Silicon Valley company that had disabled two safety backups — an internal fail-safe called Reflex and a factory-installed Volvo driver-assist system called City Safety — in its push to develop fleets of robotaxis. Either system may have mitigated the impact or prevented Herzberg’s death.
Factors shaping traffic crashes across America all played a role. It was a crash that occurred during the testing of a promising new technology. It was a crash that showcased the distracted-driving epidemic wrought by phone-addled drivers.
It was a crash in which the car-friendly infrastructure of the Phoenix area left the nearest crosswalk 380 feet to the north of where natural crossing paths existed in the median from which Herzberg stepped onto the street. It was a crash possibly influenced by impairment. Herzberg tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana use, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
In November 2019, the NTSB…