San Jose Uber Accident Highlights Danger of Distraction
Tragedies, near-misses, and disturbing accident trends have San Jose residents worried that Uber might be putting profits ahead of people. A distracted Uber driver risks the safety of everyone on the road, including passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers.
You’ve no doubt heard about local Uber accidents on the news, not to mention stories from celebrities and crazy crashes that simply defy common sense. Is the tech-infused rideshare culture eroding the safety of our streets?
San Jose Tech Company Has Ties to Fatal Uber Accident
The self-driving Uber that struck and killed 49-year old Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona was reportedly equipped with sensors developed right here in San Jose by Velodyne. Uber’s autonomous Volvo XC90 failed to sense Herzberg and ran her over as the human backup pilot looked down, watching TV.
Uber’s reliance on technology and the lack of oversight built into its business model are indications that San Jose Uber accidents will only increase. The company has deep ties in this community, yet sometimes it seems as if Uber doesn’t really care about the people who live here.
Technology is Multiplying the Distraction
Adding technology to the roadways is a double-edged sword. It can make our commutes quicker, easier, and more hassle-free but it also leads to driver distraction and a disturbing disregard for the rules of the road.
Driving is still a hands-on activity that requires your full attention. But Uber injects more technology into the cockpit than ever before: app notifications, navigation instructions, passenger interactions, all flashing and pinging to catch the driver’s attention.
A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the majority of drivers who have in-car technology over-rely on it. Drivers use gadgets and built-in tech as an excuse to ignore the speedometer, drift around in the lane, take their eyes off the road, and assume technology is an automatic fix for bad driving.
Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Put People at Risk
Uber’s self-driving cars have been plagued with problems from day one. A New York Times report showed that Uber's self-driving vehicles required human intervention once every 13 miles while rival Waymo’s technology required human intervention only once every 5,600 miles.
Of course, Uber will always say that they’re working on tech upgrades that improve driveability and safety. But technology isn’t the only cause of Uber accidents. Consider the following cases where human error was a factor too:
A San Francisco Uber accident involved a driver making an illegal turn onto a pedestrian staircase. When questioned about the seemingly foolish maneuver, the driver stated that Uber's navigation app suggested the turn to avoid traffic.
In the death of Elaine Herzberg, investigators ultimately found shared blame between Uber technology, the city of Tempe, and Uber driver Rafaela Vasquez. Just before the impact, Vasquez was looking down while watching an episode of “The Voice.”
Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers obtained a $1.65 million settlement for a local conference attendee who was severely injured after being run over by a BMW. The BMW driver mistakenly relied on her autonomous braking system as her car collided with the victim.
How Does Uber Insurance Work in a Distracted Driving Accident?
If an Uber or Lyft driver is involved in your accident, what happens next varies depending on a number of factors:
- Your role in the accident
- Whether the driver had passengers and/or their app open when the crash happened
- What type of insurance will apply
- How other drivers may have been involved
Here in California, rideshare companies are required to hold $1 million in insurance in case of an accident with injuries. Uber’s insurance partner program offers driver coverage with major insurance carriers but coverage depends upon what was happening prior to the crash.
If the driver is not actively using the app and isn’t working for the rideshare company, the driver’s personal insurance coverage applies. You’d need to pursue their auto insurance company.
When the driver is working but not actively transporting a passenger, Uber maintains third-party liability coverage (if personal auto insurance doesn’t apply) including $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
When a driver is actively picking up or driving passengers, Uber has $1 million in third-party liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured bodily injury coverage, contingent comprehensive and collision coverage, and up to the cash value of the car with a $1,000 deductible.
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That’s Right! You Can Sue a Distracted Uber Driver
You can sue for the cost of your medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, and pain and suffering. And keep this in mind: It’s no excuse to blame self-driving features, whether someone is an Uber driver or anyone else. Ultimately, drivers must follow the rules of the road.
Uber is a company with a long history of trying to minimize their own responsibility. But at Sally Morin Law, we’ll help you understand how to hold Uber accountable and maximize your settlement after a distracted driving accident.
We Handle Your Car Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After a motor vehicle accident, contact Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of traffic law, including injuries that arise from Uber and distracted driving accidents in San Jose. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details. We truly care about the people of California. Call 877-380-8852 today for a free online case evaluation.