Category Archives: Driverless Cars

Bird Scooters

For those of you who are wondering why scooters have been popping up all over town, it’s likely due to a recent influx of Bird Scooters. First created in China, and manufactured on the West Coast, Bird Scooters allow pedestrians to rent these  scooters starting at just $1.00. Although you are also required to pay .15 cents for every minute you use the scooter, Bird Scooters (and others with a similar business model) have seemingly taken over our way of getting around. While these scooters are relatively inexpensive to rent, and very useful to get from one place to the next, it is not surprising that this latest influx of scooters has lead to an increase in pedestrian-related accidents over the past few months.

Given the rise in scooter-related incidents, it is important for drivers and riders alike to remember to always keep an eye out for others. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with cars, semi-trucks, motorcycles, city buses, and (soon) trolleys. This latest craze has meant that for those of us behind the wheel there has never been a time where more potential hazards are on the road. Obviously keeping your eyes on the road is a must, and texting while driving is a no-no. But, drivers are now required to look out for any number of scooters that might potentially dart out onto the street. These scooters, which travel up to 15mph, are difficult to see, especially at night. While technology still hasn’t caught up with the longtime issue of keeping our pedestrian safe, especially at night, that doesn’t mean that we cannot minimize these potentially horrific accidents.

In the coming weeks and months, it is probable that more scooter companies will pop up throughout the city, and more people will be exposed to additional hazards while trying to get from point A to point B. Just remember: IPDE: Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute. Keeping your eyes on the road, and off your phone will help you to identify those on scooters. Once you’ve identified them, try to predict where they are likely headed. If that seem to be veering onto the road, are appear about to dart across traffic, make sure to provide them with enough space to get through safely. Next, decide. You ultimately need to decide whether it makes sense to avoid certain areas of town at particular times of day given the number of pedestrians on scooters. Finally, execute. Make sure that you are cognizant of the rapid rise of pedestrians on scooters and make a plan. Be sure to execute your game plan, and let others know of potential ways that they might also minimize the dangers that these new scooters are causing. Together, we can make our roads safe again. There are always setbacks when new technology becomes available to the public. Hopefully by recognizing and talking about the issue, we can achieve zero scooter-related accident on our streets.

If you or someone that you know has been injured while on a motorized scooter, one of our attorneys at Groth Law Firm would be happy to provide you with a free consultation. We will be able to tell you what legal avenues, if any, you might have to not only get your medical bills paid for, but also additional compensation for the pain and suffering that you deserve. Call us day or night!

GROTH LAW FIRM, S.C.
SKILLED. DEDICATED. PROVEN.

(414) 375-2030

First Driverless Car to Get Ticketed

After the recent incident involving Uber and their driverless car killing a woman in Arizona, yet another incident involving a driverless car has occurred. A motorcycle police officer in San Francisco, gave the first traffic ticket to a driverless car. The officer ticketed the driverless car because it failed to properly yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk. California law requires cars to yield right away to pedestrians. The driverless car did have a human test driver and they are the ones responsible for the citation.

The officer pulled over the driverless car shortly after it began accelerating. The owners of the driverless car, Cruise, claim that the onboard data showed that the pedestrian was 10.8 feet away from the vehicle; the human test driver did everything correctly.  Cruise also claims that their number one concern is the safety of the public when testing their self-driving cars.

Many feel that this incident shouldn’t be taken lightly since the death of the pedestrian caused by the driverless Uber. This latest incident puts in question the safety of the public with this new technology. This new incident involving a driverless car won’t help convince the public about the safety concerns they have about these self-driving cars that are in the near future.  Like what will happen when a police officer pulls out a driverless car when there is no human test driver? Driverless car or not, Groth Law Firm helps individuals who have been involved in car accidents and have suffered injuries because of it.

I Don’t See The Guy Who Hit Me? Crash with a Driverless Car

In recent months talk regarding driverless cars has reached a fever pitch as companies continue to pour resources into creating the first consumer-ready prototypes. Uber, an established leader in the ride-sharing gig economy, is on the forefront of this movement. Although is it easy to get excited at the prospect of our cars driving us to our errands, or through rush hour traffic, recent events raise questions about the safety and responsible use of these cars.

Although reports of minor accidents early in the development of these vehicles was met with little media coverage or caution, a fatal accident on March 18th, 2018, exposes serious concerns with this new technology. Elain Herberg, a 49-year-old woman, was struck while walking her bicycle across the street in Tempe, Arizona. Elain was transported to the hospital from the scene and passed away from her injuries at a local hospital. Although preliminary reports are short on details, Tempe Police Detective Lily Duran reported that the car could have been traveling approximately 40 mph in a 35 mph zone. Local authorities from the Tempe Police Department are investigating, and the National Transportation Safety Board is also pursuing it’s own investigation.

Uber offered the following statement via a spokesperson, “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with the local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”

Despite Uber’s condolences to the family of the deceased, it is unclear if the company will accept full liability for the vehicle’s actions. Negligence in the age of driverless cars is uncharted territory, and although there has been significant speculation about how to handle driverless car accidents, very little has been incorporated into any new law.

At the time of the crash the Uber vehicle was in “self-driving mode.” Perhaps as precautionary measure, a vehicle operator was in the vehicle at the time of the crash. As of now, it is unclear how much control this operator had prior to, or at the moment of the crash. Arizona is well known as an early adopter of self-driving cars. In fact, just this month the Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, signed an executive order allowing for self-driving cars to be used on state roads without a human driver behind the wheel. A few factors influenced this decision and include; Arizona’s dry, static climate and the large population of nearby retired individuals who are expected to benefit from this technology.

In this instance, the self-driving car that caused this accident was owned and being tested by Uber. Other major manufacturers, such as Google and GM have analogous test models and are still investing heavily in the development of autonomous vehicle tech.

This technology raises a myriad of legal issues. Is there a products liability case if something inherent in the vehicle causes an accident? If the vehicle acts in accordance with it’s programming and an unforeseen variable causes a wreck, is the operator negligent if they do not adapt to this variable? Most self-driving cars have an onboard camera system that shows all angles of a vehicle’s surroundings. Will this affect how accident reports are constructed? If a crash is imminent will a self-driving car take action to save it’s own occupants over other cars? Pedestrians?

It can be scary and almost impossible to approach this issue on your own. If you or someone you know has been in an accident with a self-driving car you need not only an experienced attorney, but a law firm that is willing to dive into unexplored areas of law on behalf of their clients. As mentioned, there is little law on this topic and you can be sure that major corporations will fight tooth and nail to protect their investments. If you want a law firm that is unafraid to take on the big guy, call Groth Law Firm at 414-375-2030.