Uber driver crash in SF raises new safety issues

Byby Sergio Quintana KGO logo
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Uber driver crash in SF raises new safety issues
A crash involving an Uber driver who suffered a seizure and hit a pedestrian in San Francisco is raising new safety concerns.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Passengers were helpless in the back seat as their Uber driver suffered a seizure, careened out of control, and hit a pedestrian. The accident is raising new safety concerns about on-demand car services and the way they monitor their drivers.

It happened Saturday night on Geary St. in San Francisco. The aftermath of the accident was caught on camera by a witness. It shows police pulling up and a seemingly dazed man in the driver seat. Rodney Edwards says he was working that night and saw the whole thing.

"I saw him choke, in the car," Edwards said. "And then he just went on across, whoomp. And hit the pole, hit the cars. And I was like, did he pass out? I didn't know what was wrong with him."

According to San Francisco police, the 56-year-old driver had a seizure and lost control of his car. He had two passengers aboard at the time.

This crash happened on a busy Saturday night outside of the Monarch Hotel. The front desk attendant tells ABC7 News that one of the people injured was a guest who was just checking in.

Police say the pedestrian who was hit and the driver were taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

Uber released a brief statement that reads in part: "This driver partner has an outstanding record of service and safety with no prior incidents. Pending a medical review, he has been removed from the Uber platform."

But the company has not answered a key question about this crash -- how will the diver go about returning to service?

"There's no power on the part of the CPUC over drivers at all because the drivers themselves are not licensed in any way," said Mark Gruberg.

Gruberg, with the United Taxi Workers, says that if this happened to a cab driver he could have a hold placed on his cabbie license by the SFMTA and would need some sort of medical clearance.

According to police, they can notify the DMV if they believe drivers pose a medical risk. But they haven't made a decision in this case.