Pedestrian Trapped Underneath Autonomous Vehicle in San Francisco Accident
In a recent incident in San Francisco, a pedestrian was struck by a regular car and then trapped beneath a Cruise autonomous vehicle for several minutes. The incident occurred at a busy intersection in downtown San Francisco on Monday night.
According to emergency responders and a video of the crash viewed by The Washington Post, the pedestrian was crossing the intersection when she was hit by the regular car. The force of the impact caused her to roll onto the car’s windshield before she was flung into the path of the autonomous vehicle, which stopped once it collided with her.
The victim was taken to the hospital and was in critical condition on Tuesday. It is unclear if being trapped beneath the autonomous vehicle for several minutes contributed to her injuries.
This incident is the latest in a series involving autonomous vehicles in San Francisco. The city has become a hotbed for driverless cars, with companies like General Motors-owned Cruise and Google’s Waymo operating in the area. However, these autonomous vehicles have created angst among residents and disrupted the normal flow of traffic. They have also caused issues for first responders by interfering with emergency scenes.
In this particular accident, the pedestrian was struck when both the regular car and the Cruise vehicle advanced after the traffic light turned green. The Cruise spokesperson stated that the autonomous vehicle “braked aggressively to minimize the impact” but was unable to stop in time.
The driver of the regular car drove off without stopping, leaving the pedestrian trapped under the autonomous vehicle. Firefighters arrived at the scene and rescued the woman, who had suffered multiple traumatic injuries.
Cruise, Waymo, and other companies have been authorized to offer paid robotaxi services in San Francisco. However, in the wake of several concerning incidents involving Cruise vehicles, the California Department of Motor Vehicles ordered the company to reduce its fleet size in the city by 50 percent while an investigation takes place.
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt believes that driverless cars will ultimately lead to safer roads, but critics, including former House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Kevin Mullin, have expressed serious concerns about the incidents involving autonomous vehicles. They have urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to increase regulations and collect more data on these vehicles.
As the investigation into this accident continues, it remains to be seen what actions will be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.