Uber safety driver was watching TV moments before fatal collision

Elaine Herzberg was killed on the night of March 18. She was homeless at the time

The detailed report of more than 300 pages was released by Tempe police Thursday night, along with video and photos from the scene of the March 18 collision.

Vasquez was looking away from the road for long stretches in the time before the crash, according to an internal video showing her that was released by police.

A 318-page report filed by the Tempe Police Department refutes driver Rafaela Vasquez's previous statement to federal safety investigators that she wasn't using her mobile devices when the vehicle struck and killed a woman who was crossing the street at night.

Vasquez says that the vehicle was in auto drive and that it did not see Herzberg nor did she. The Volvo was traveling at about 40 miles per hour in the lane nearest the curb and never braked.

Investigators' tests show that the accident, in March, would have been "entirely avoidable" had Vasquez focused on the road, the report says.

Police discovered that Uber's driver, Rafaela Vasquez, had been watching "The Voice" on Hulu for approximately 42 minutes before the crash, according to a police report obtained by Reuters.

It streamed the show up until 9.59pm, which "coincides with the approximate time of the collision", the report added. "We have a strict policy prohibiting mobile device usage for anyone operating our self-driving vehicles", an Uber spokesperson told Gizmodo.

Drivers are told they can be fired for violating this rule.

Authorities also noted the self-driving Uber didn't alert operators of when to take control of the auto.

While the report reveals the actions of the safety driver, questions are still swirling around Uber's self-driving technology system in the modified Volvo XC90.

The fatality prompted the ride-hailing giant to suspend all road testing of self-driving vehicles in areas including Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

As police previously said, the auto showed no evidence of braking before hitting Herzberg.

At the same time, Vasquez was convicted of unsworn falsification committed in 1999, meaning she made a false statement to a public officials, and received a concurrent one year sentence.

The police report sad Vasquez had been watching a TV show in the moments before she struck Herzberg.

The report said that Vasquez was looking down at her phone seven of the 22 minutes prior to crash.

Earlier this year, Uber said it employs about 400 human safety drivers like Vasquez across various cities. The report found that Vasquez "was distracted and looking down" for close to seven of the almost 22 minutes before the collision.

Uber has hired former National Transportation Safety Board chair Christopher Hart as an adviser on the company's overall safety culture. The case is in the hands of the Yavapai County Attorney's Office for review after the Maricopa County Attorney's Office referred the case because of a conflict. "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. Vasquez couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

This is the latest development in the ongoing investigation into the fatal crash.

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