A fatal pedestrian accident in Arizona involving an Uber self-driving car will likely set back the rollout of fully autonomous vehicles as automakers and developers fine-tune the still-experimental technology to enhance safety and tackle unpredictable road conditions — and some observers worry that regulators might rush to enact binding rules following the accident.

Uber Technologies Inc. on Monday suspended its self-driving car operations in various U.S. cities after one of its self-driving vehicles, operating in autonomous mode with a human driver behind the wheel, hit 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg while she crossed a street in Tempe, Arizona, Sunday night. Herzberg later died from her injuries.

"I believe there's a tendency to overreact in these situations, but there's a true and tested method of reliably investigating what happened and it would be a mistake to jump to conclusions," Neal Walters, leader of Ballard Spahr LLP's product liability and mass tort group, told Law360. "No matter what, everyone is going to learn a little more about the interactions these vehicles have with pedestrians. We have to be very patient."

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