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GM Cruise Pauses Driverless Operations After Suspended CA Permit

Home » GM Cruise Pauses Driverless Operations After Suspended CA Permit
December 23, 2023
Edward Smith

GM Cruise Pauses Driverless Operations

The General Motors (GM) subsidiary, Cruise LLC, known for its advancements in self-driving vehicle technology, issued temporary pauses for driverless operations throughout the nation. This decision follows the suspension of its permits in the state of California after a pedestrian accident involving serious injuries. The incident highlights the challenges posed by a regulatory framework that is not well-established for self-driving vehicles. Furthermore, it has created uncertainty for the company and others in the industry in balancing innovation and safety.

Experts within the industry view the recent pedestrian accident involving a GM Cruise driverless vehicle as a clear indicator that manufacturers are introducing new technologies too fast. Liability and safety concerns that self-driving cars pose have not yet been addressed and established at the local, state, and federal levels. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (CA DMV) has issued permit suspensions for GM Cruise. These are required by the company to conduct testing and operate their fleets within the Golden State.

The permit suspension has caused the company to voluntarily stop driverless operations in other cities. This includes Arizona, Florida, and Texas, where Phoenix, Miami, Houston, Dallas, and Austin were service areas. Phoenix alone covered approximately 100 square miles, including Scottsdale, Tempe, and Chandler. In a separate action, a permit issued in August 2023 by the California Public Utilities Commission was also suspended. This permit allowed GM Cruise to conduct robotaxi operations in San Francisco.

Pedestrian Accident Involving GM Cruise Driverless Vehicle in SF

The event leading to the permit suspensions occurred in October 2023 when a GM Cruise vehicle was involved in a hit-and-run pedestrian accident in San Francisco, CA. The pedestrian was initially struck by a fleeing car and then struck a second time by a Cruise driverless vehicle. Officials indicated that the pedestrian was dragged underneath the vehicle at 7 mph and approximately 20 feet from the initial point of impact. With no eyewitnesses, officials are investigating why the GM Cruise vehicle came to a stop on top of the individual on foot following the crash.

GM Cruise has recalled approximately 950 driverless vehicles following the pedestrian accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) campaign number 23E-086 in November 2023, Cruise has recalled the vehicles due to the Automated Driving System (ADS). The vehicle and its Collision Detection Subsystem components may pose a safety risk by causing the car to veer to the side of the roadway following a collision. The remedy involves a software update for all vehicles on the supervised test fleet.

Liability in Cases Involving Driverless Vehicles

Driverless vehicles have arrived, and their prevalence is anticipated to increase significantly in the coming years. These vehicles utilize sophisticated technology and incorporate numerous safety features. However, as the number of driverless vehicles on the road continues to rise, it is inevitable that these cars will be involved in traffic collisions. Driverless vehicles, contrary to popular belief, have been found more susceptible to being involved in roadway collisions compared to their human-driven counterparts. There may be flaws in the design or manufacturing of the vehicle making it unsafe for use.

Liability may fall on more than one party for a motor vehicle collision involving a driverless car. There are often two separate entities involved in the design and manufacturing of these vehicles. This includes the company that creates driverless technology software and the company behind the driverless vehicle design. Even if the technology has impeccable design, potential errors in the software and mechanical components of the vehicle may lead to crashes involving driverless cars. Conversely, the manufacturer may be held liable for a crash wherein faulty vehicle parts caused or contributed to the incident.

If any component of the driverless vehicle renders it unreasonably safe for roadway use and an accident occurs, the manufacturer may be held liable for the resulting losses in a product liability case. Liability in these matters will be determined on a case-by-case basis. A plaintiff will require strong negotiation skills, compelling testimony, and clear evidence to establish liability and damages in these cases. It is never too early to retain legal counsel after a crash involving a driverless vehicle. In most accident cases, a plaintiff has two years from the date of loss to file a case in civil court.

What Types of Losses Can Be Claimed in an Auto Product Liability Case?

Any party involved in the distribution chain has the potential to be a defendant in a product liability case arising from a defectively designed or manufactured vehicle. In California, manufacturers may be held strictly liable for an incident involving a vehicle with unreasonably dangerous design or components. An eligible claimant may seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages. In some cases, punitive damages may be sought against the defendant. These are solely intended to punish the opposing party for egregious conduct.

The legal aspects of an auto product liability case for defective vehicle components, such as driverless car software, may be challenging. A knowledgeable lawyer in California can be your greatest asset if you decide to retain legal counsel to file a case against the manufacturer and other parties. At our law firm, our legal team has proven time and time again that we will stop at nothing to obtain maximum compensation for our clients. We are committed to doing the same for you and your potential case. Contact us today to learn more and receive friendly and free case advice.

Self-Driving Car Accident Lawyer in California

Liability is often disputed in motor vehicle collisions regardless of whether a vehicle is driverless. If you were injured in a recent crash involving a driverless vehicle, it is essential to seek the assistance of an attorney who is well-versed in personal injury law. For your free consultation with one of our knowledgeable and skilled California self-driving car accident lawyers, contact our law firm by phone at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. We have the experience and resources to manage your case effectively, obtain justice, and seek the maximum financial recovery you deserve.

Photo Source: By “Brett Sayles“ on

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