Report says Uber driver was watching TV show before fatal Tempe accident

"The operator further stated that although her personal and business phones were in the vehicle, neither was in use until after the crash, when she called 911", according to the NTSB.

A safety driver operating an Uber self-driving vehicle looked down at a phone that was streaming The Voice on Hulu 204 times during a 43-minute test drive that ended when pedestrian Elaine Herzberg was struck and killed in Tempe, Arizona, according to a 318-page police report reviewed by TechCrunch.

According to the spreadsheet of watch data from Hulu, Vasquez was streaming television episodes for approximately three hours the night of the crash. Based on testing, the crash would have been "entirely avoidable" had Vasquez been paying attention, the report said.

Her account was playing the television talent show "The Voice" the night of the crash for about 42 minutes, ending at 9:59 p.m.

The crash is said to have occurred about 1 minute later at 10 p.m. on March 18.

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The deadly collision happened on March 18 near Mill Avenue and Curry when 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg was hit and killed by an Uber self-driving vehicle while she was crossing the street with her bicycle, in what was the first deadly crash involving a self-driving auto.

The company prohibits the use of any mobile device by safety drivers while the self-driving cars are on a public road. She could face charges of manslaughter, reports The Guardian. She claims she didn't see Herzberg until impact.

Both Vasquez and Uber could still face civil liability in the case, Uber for potentially negligent hiring, training and supervision, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of SC law professor who closely follows autonomous vehicles. The safety driver sitting in the front seat at the time of the crash was distracted.

Maricopa County prosecutors will make the ultimate decision on whether or not to charge her.

In the lengthy report, Tempe police wrote that Vasquez "appears to be looking down at the area near her right knee at various points in the video".

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Uber has shut down its self-driving operation in Arizona. Her role - a legally required one, as per the terms of Uber's autonomous testing permit in Arizona - was to monitor the car's behavior and be ready to step in should the vehicle fail to act safely or appropriately.

Uber, like other self-driving auto developers, requires a back-up driver in the vehicle to intervene when the autonomous system fails or a tricky driving situation occurs. The report said the crash, which marks the first fatality involving a self-driving vehicle, wouldn't have happened had the driver not been distracted.

The report says police initially determined that Vasquez was not impaired after giving her a field test.

The report concludes that, while Herzberg was not in a crosswalk when hit, Vasquez was "inattentive, " failed to take control of the vehicle to avoid the crash and that her "disregard for assigned job function to intervene in a hazardous situation" all contributed to the crash.

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