Las Vegas is a city known for its innovations, and one of the newest to hit Sin City is the self-driving taxi, or robotaxi. With this new technology comes both convenience as well as risks, one of those being a wreck. In this blog, our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys explain the steps to take after a Las Vegas self-driving taxi accident, as well as related laws and regulations and how to determine liability.
Nevada Self-Driving Taxi Laws and Regulations
On June 16, 2023, the first Zoox self-driving taxi hit the roads in Las Vegas after Nevada became the first state to regulate self-driving cars. Self-driving vehicles are categorized by level of autonomy. The scale, developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), ranges from 0 to 5:
- Level 0 (No Automation): driver is responsible for all driving tasks.
- Level 1 (Driver Assistance): system assists with specific tasks like cruise control or lane departure warning.
- Level 2 (Partial Automation): system can control some driving functions like steering and acceleration under certain conditions, but the driver must monitor and be ready to take over.
- Level 3 (Conditional Automation): system can handle most driving tasks, but the driver must be prepared to take over when prompted.
- Level 4 (High Automation): system can handle all driving tasks in most situations, but the driver may not be required to be present in the vehicle.
- Level 5 (Full Automation): system can handle all driving tasks in all situations, and no driver is needed.
In order to operate a Las Vegas self-driving taxi, the state requires a permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The manufacturers must demonstrate that their vehicles meet safety standards and can operate reliably in the state’s diverse terrain and weather conditions such as high winds and monsoons.
NV Rev Stat § 482A.030 (2022) outlines the following regulations for the testing of autonomous vehicles:
- Drivers must have a valid driver’s license with an autonomous vehicle endorsement.
- At least $5 million in liability insurance
- Vehicles must be equipped with certain safety features, including:
- Override system that allows the human operator to take control of the vehicle at any time
- Data recorders in order to record information about the vehicle’s operation in case of an accident
Steps to Take After a Las Vegas Self-Driving Taxi Accident
The initial steps following a Las Vegas taxi accident and a self-driving taxi accident are similar. You will still want to contact police, exchange information, take photo and video evidence, and check for injuries, etc. There are a few specific steps for a Las Vegas self-driving taxi accident, such as:
- Identifying the operator: self-driving taxis might be operated by a company or an individual. Gather information about the operating entity, including their name and contact details. Try to obtain the self-driving taxi’s identification number (usually displayed on the windshield).
- Contacting the self-driving taxi company: report the accident directly to the company operating the taxi. They may have specific protocols you need to follow.
- Preserving evidence: if possible, try to secure any data logs or recordings from the self-driving taxi system. This information can be invaluable for determining the cause of the accident. Your attorney can also assist in requesting this information from the operating company.
Who Is Liable for a Self-Driving Taxi Accident?
Just like in car accidents, there can be multiple causes of self-driving taxi accidents, such as:
- Faulty sensors or data misinterpretations
- Software bugs that can cause unexpected behavior in the self-driving system
- Hacking and cybersecurity attacks, which could potentially be used to manipulate the vehicle’s systems and cause accidents
- Changes in weather conditions
- Road debris
- Collisions with pedestrians, motorcycles, and bicycles
- Poorly maintained roads and other infrastructure issues
- Distracted driving, impaired driving, and other human errors in semi-automated vehicles
- Poor vehicle maintenance
Depending on the cause of the accident, there are several parties who can be held liable for a
Las Vegas self-driving taxi accident, like the manufacturer, software developer, the driver, the taxi company, or a third party. The specific circumstances of each accident will determine who is ultimately liable. Under Nevada comparative negligence laws, multiple parties may share responsibility for the accident.
Contact a Las Vegas Taxi Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been injured in a Las Vegas self-driving taxi accident due to the negligence or recklessness of another individual or party, one of our Las Vegas taxi accident lawyers can help. The legal framework of self-driving cars is rapidly evolving. Our personal injury attorneys stay informed about complex legal issues so we can help our injured clients win.
Our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys is here to help you understand your legal options, fight for the compensation you deserve, and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. We’ve helped clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, Summerlin, Boulder City, and Pahrump obtain damages like pain and suffering, lost wages, and more for their injuries. We are available 24/7 to help those injured in accidents.