A pedestrian being hit and killed by an autonomous vehicle in Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday, March 18, 2018, was certainly destined to create a big response from the media and many have published their views regarding the sad incident.
The problem is, though, that many people have speculated inappropriately on the matter, including — it has to be said — the police chief in Tempe. So let’s make one important point straight away: The only relevant decision regarding blame for this or any other tragic incident clearly lies solely with the courts. Publishing unsubstantiated or wildly inaccurate opinions before any trial can only serve to affect the opinions of subsequent jurors and even officials — a highly undesirable situation. (In other countries this is the law — often referred to as Sub Judice — but sadly for the most accurate justice that is not the case in the USA.)
Before considering some of the comments, let’s take a look at the in-car video, apparently published by Tempe Police and then ABC7, since the incident:
We are posting this saddening topic here on the ADoNA website in the hope that it helps in the THSO’s aim of persuading people not to become the cause of a tragedy which requires this terrible outcome.
Years ago, in professional circles, we used to talk about “The Three E’s” of road (or highway) safety, and these were:
The belief was if one taught people adequate and accurate information — including high-quality driving lessons — about staying safe on the roads, and the engineers designed and built safer roads and vehicles, and the police enforced the laws to make people drive to better standards, then safety would be maximized.
Perhaps 6-8 years ago, the US DOT and NHTSA published a statistic online that identified a thoroughly horrifying situation. Put simply, it said that the chances for every young person in the USA being involved in a serious-injury or fatal road crash at some point in their life is an astonishingly-high “fifty-fifty.” At that time, I looked at my four American step-daughters and wondered which two — statistically speaking — it might be. That statistic, however, very swiftly disappeared off the Internet.
Now, however, I also have six American grandchildren, and just today — August 11, 2017 — another statistic has been published on Facebook by NHTSA which very effectively renews my concerns. It said exactly this:
NHTSA· 1 hr · The chance of being in an alcohol-impaired crash is one in three over the course of a lifetime. #BuzzedDriving
Whenever people argue that it is the right of a motorcyclist to accept additional risk of serious injuries or death, if they wish to do so, a key part of the argument is casually forgotten, and that is the often huge extra expense to everybody else if the worst happens. It is now many years since the average cost, per body, of fatal road-crashes in the USA went above $1 million. Indeed it is a well above a million dollars now.