Uber has been pushing for self driving vehicles and is using them in select cities. These vehicles are manned by a driver that is to take over in dangerous situations. However, the cars are primarily driven by a computer. As suspected, there are some issues that arise when the computers don't function as designed, or the vehicle can't account for a dangerous situation. When these failures occur the results can be catastrophic leading to injury and even death. (Click here to read about self driving car failure resulting in death.) Uber recently pulled its vehicles off of the road after a self driving Uber car was involved in a crash. (click here to read about recent autonomous vehicle Uber crash.)
Self Driving cars and ride-share programs somewhat compound an already uncertain area of the law and there are other safety risks that are going to arise should Uber continue to test vehicles on the road without proper research and development in house. Maintenance issues, malfunctions, and small issues are destined to arise. I have heard complaints from ride share operators regarding occasional glitches with the app, so it is difficult to imagine the self driving vehicle won't have any glitches. If a self driving vehicle fails to operate during a ride and leaves a customer stranded that is later a victim of an assault or robbery, will Uber be liable? These are all issues that may arise.
The autonomous vehicle issues are new to Oregon and Oregon politicians and agencies are struggling to keep up with technology. Until they are able to adequately regulate this industry it will be up to attorneys looking out for injured people to raise these issues for their injured clients and hopefully provide an economic incentive for the autonomous vehicle industry to be abundantly cautious when rolling out these vehicles. If you have more questions feel free to read my previous blog articles: Who is Responsible for Crash with Self Driving Car?; Licensing Autonomous Vehicles in Oregon?; What to do passenger In Crash with Uber or Lyft?
If you were an Uber or Lyft passenger involved in a crash, please call Ross Law at 503.224.1658. Jeremiah Ross is happy to discuss your personal injury case with you. If you are involved in a crash with a self-driving vehicle or autonomous vehicle feel free to call Jeremiah Ross. Legal Stuff: Please note this article is based on the author's opinion. Ross Law does not have any affiliations with any ride share program or taxi-cab company. This information is not to be considered legal advice and is for information only.