Cruise Fined $112,500 for Self-Driving Taxi Accident Response

One person was injured in last October’s incident when one of Cruise’s self-driving taxis struck and dragged a pedestrian

Graham Hope

June 23, 2024

3 Min Read
General Motors

Self-driving company Cruise has been ordered to pay $112,500 by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for its response to last year’s October accident involving one of its self-driving taxis in which a pedestrian was injured.

The amount is the maximum allowed by state law, and significantly more than the $75,000 settlement originally offered by the General Motors subsidiary.

Cruise was specifically criticized by the regulatory body for its failure to swiftly provide video of the incident, in which a pedestrian was dragged along the road for 20 feet by one of the company’s autonomous Chevrolet Bolt taxis, after originally being struck by a human-driven vehicle.

CPUC Administrative Law Judge Robert Mason III noted in his ruling: “For a total of fifteen days, from October 3, 2023 to October 18, 2023, Cruise failed to provide the Commission with a full account of the October 2, 2023 incident.”

The $112,500 fine equates to a $7500 fine for each of those 15 days.

Cruise was also criticized for withholding information, and making misleading statements about the incident on its website. However, bosses will be relieved that an attempt by the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency to get CPUC to conduct an inquiry into the affair was rejected by the judge.

Related:Woman Trapped Under Self-Driving Taxi After Freak Accident

Cruise has already commissioned and published its own independent inquiry, conducted by law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which was scathing about the company’s actions, highlighting “poor leadership, mistakes in judgment, lack of coordination, an ‘us versus them’ mentality with regulators and a fundamental misapprehension of Cruise’s obligations of accountability and transparency to the government and the public.”

In explaining his reasoning for not greenlighting a CPUC inquiry, Judge Mason III noted: “Approval of the Settlement Agreement terms will bring this dispute to a close, which will permit Commission staff to devote their resources to Cruise’s regulatory oversight rather than engage in potentially protracted litigation.”

While the October incident seriously injured the pedestrian – who is believed to have received between $8 million and $12 million as a settlement from Cruise – it has also had severe consequences for the company.

In the immediate aftermath, it had its license for driverless operations removed in California and was described as an “unreasonable risk to public safety”. It then suspended all activities across the country, with senior executives sacked and hundreds of staff losing their jobs as GM cut funding to the tune of $1 billion.

Related:Cruise Suspends Self-Driving Taxis Across US

However, recent weeks have seen the start of a tentative comeback, with Cruise resuming testing in Phoenix, Dallas and Houston. At the same time, GM has committed a further $850 million to the company as it continues to work out a strategic road map for the future.

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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