Cruise Robo Taxis Banned from Operating on California Roads

After months of debate and pleas from local lawmakers, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has suspended permits to autonomous vehicle company Cruise, meaning it can no longer test its driverless taxis in the state. 

Tuesday’s decision stems from an Oct. 2 incident in which a Cruise vehicle ran over a pedestrian who had been hit by another car. According to the DMV, the company initially concealed footage showing that Cruise’s vehicle attempted a “pullover maneuver” while the pedestrian was under the car, increasing the risk of further injury.  

“Cruise’s omission hinders the ability of the department to effectively and timely evaluate the safe operation of Cruise’s vehicles and puts the safety of the public at risk,” the DMV said.

The DMV added that Cruise’s robo taxis create an “unreasonable risk to public safety.” 

Following the DMV’s announcement, the California Public Utilities Commission also said it had suspended Cruise’s ability to transport passengers in its driverless taxis.

The Oct. 2 accident was just the latest incident of concern involving autonomous vehicles. As City News reported previously, the DMV asked Cruise to cut its San Francisco fleet in half in August after two back-to-back crashes involving the company’s robo taxis.  

Even before those crashes, local officials were sounding the alarm about the safety hazards caused by autonomous vehicles.  

“They’re not ready for prime time,” San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson told the Los Angeles Times after unmanned taxis twice interfered with emergency personnel. 

Read more about the ban on Cruise’s vehicles and the broader safety issues at CalMatters.