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  • San Francisco Google Tech Bus Dangers: Legal Recourse, Accident Compensation

    San Francisco Google Tech Bus Dangers: Legal Recourse, Accident Compensation

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    San Francisco Google Tech Bus Dangers: Legal Recourse, Accident Compensation

Our readers will recall that Google and its buses have been under fire since at least 2014, with local residents resenting “… the overbearing buses, the congestion – and not least of all by the soaring rents that come with the techies … formed organized coalitions in protest.” People are complaining even more about Google scaling everything to lay off humans in search of Larry Page’s “Digital god” and, apparently, population control by automation.

“Hallcon, which oversees Google’s shuttle bus and bike-sharing services, is laying off dozens of workers based at one of the tech titan’s buildings.”

It’s called a Google “Tech Bus” because it is dedicated to transporting Google tech employees (the new “privileged class”), not normal citizens. Daily, countless people depend on electric tech buses like Google’s to get to work, school, shopping, and more.

While these buses offer an eco-friendly transportation alternative and help to reduce traffic congestion in places like San Francisco, their determined use is not without risks. On November 6, 2023, a severe accident involving a Google tech bus, apparently with bad brakes. Local authorities and Google confirmed their bus rolled backward off Castro Street, denting at least four cars and as many as nine. No word on pedestrians run over, if any.

On a typical Monday morning, a mishap involving Google’s electric shuttle bus and several other vehicles near Castro and 20th streets in San Francisco occurred. This unfortunate incident was reported by the San Francisco Police Department and appeared to have unfolded around 8:45 a.m. Several vehicles were left damaged after the collision, but the police report is not available to learn more. I am California bus accident attorney, Michael Ehline, Esq. Below, I will use my years of experience as a personal injury lawyer to break down what happened, who, if anyone, can sue, and how to stop these crashes in the future.

EV Brakes Distinguished

EV Brakes defined

If you drive an electric car, you know they don’t depend on conventional braking systems, even though they have them. Instead, the EV typically relies on electric solid motors to drive and stop it. This is one-pedal driving since the motor is like a Jake Brake on a diesel-wheel truck. It appears there was some motor failure, with secondary and parking brakes unable to work during the roll back down the hill.

The Bus and Other Vehicles Damaged

We know this was a lumbering gray, double-decker bus, not a single-story model. We have seen these as standard along Castro Street for years now. Otherwise, it could have been worse beyond the multiple cars. The police-reported report would help us determine liability, as it may document the cause of the crash once and for all. For example, was there a hit-and-run vehicle, or was this all the bus’s fault?

Notably, the imbroglio resulted in an occupant of one of the vehicles getting injured and consequently requiring medical attention at a hospital. However, the nature or severity of their injuries is yet to be revealed. Xian Ke (@xianke) initially made this incident public through a Twitter post text message. The investigation showed at least four vehicles, and some suggest as many as nine were involved. The steep hill allowed enough backward momentum for multiple vehicles to be destroyed and wound at least one person as the crash happened.

So, what exactly makes Google electric tech buses hazardous? Who might be held responsible if an accident occurs? Is the bus company the cause of the crash? Were traffic laws violated? How do we determine liability if it’s driverless? What if there are multiple parties and not enough money to cover everything? Moreover, how can victims of such accidents seek compensation? Keep reading, and you will find the answers to these critical questions. 

As a former transportation company owner and now an ace lawyer, Michael Ehline brings a unique perspective to these questions. His understanding of both the transport industry and the legal landscape is unrivaled, making him an authority on this topic.

Before we delve into these issues, let’s shed some light on why these Google electric tech buses can be dangerous: 

  1. Complex technology: The advanced systems that power these vehicles are also a potential source of the malfunction and the company’s entire shuttle fleet. Click the home page link for more information.
  2. Size: The sheer size of a commuter bus can contribute to severity in case of accidents injuring the people you love.
  3. Electric batteries: Electric batteries can pose fire hazards in an accident. And your settlement should reflect a bunch of the problems and solutions in your neighborhood.
  4. Human error: In general, whether the driver or other road users are why the Google bus lost control, human error [causing a mechanical failure] will remain a significant factor if a tech bus plowed into cars, SUVs, or people.

What Causes EV Brake Issues?

Let’s delve into common brake issues in your electric vehicle (EV) and how Ehline Law could assist you in preventing these problems. Your automobile’s braking system, irrespective of whether it’s a car, truck, or SUV, is one of the most vulnerable to environmental factors. Critical components such as the brake rotor, brake pads, and caliper slide pins are constantly exposed to environmental elements.

Although your vehicle’s bodywork is also revealed, there’s a fundamental difference – your brake parts aren’t as well-protected. This risk of exposure is because any surface coatings on the brakes wear off rapidly. Thus, brake parts are constantly in contact with rain, salt, and debris, leading to rapid rusting. If your vehicle is parked outside overnight during rainfall, you might notice this rust yourself. 

This isn’t a significant issue in traditional gas-powered vehicles since the brake system is frequently used, scrubbing the rust. At the same time, the heat generated helps evaporate any water content, reducing additional rust and corrosion. Simultaneously, the constant usage ensures that the braking mechanism parts slide and move freely, thus staying lubricated. However, with EVs, regenerative braking can result in weeks or months without any substantial use of the brakes. This usage pattern could mean your brakes will never wear out in ideal conditions. However, real-world conditions can lead to rusting of these parts. 

When it comes to brake rotor rust, little can be done. The issue, in most cases, is minor and will likely wear off after a few miles of driving. However, if it persists, trying a few emergency stops in a safe location is advisable to engage the EV’s friction brakes and dislodge the surface rust. Rusting of brake pads is a more serious concern. Traditional brake pads have remained relatively unchanged over the years, consisting of a thin steel plate with a coat of paint and friction material on the front. In EVs, these brake pads are expected to last a long time as they aren’t getting worn down by regenerative braking. However, the thin paint coating succumbs to rusting almost immediately.

The backing plate corrodes and separates from the pad material, leading to brake pad failure. Such a failure might come to your attention when the dragging brakes decrease your electric range or when you attempt an emergency stop, and the brakes don’t perform as expected. If Google of the bus company was aware of this, and this prevented active brakes from working, this could be a basis of liability against all involved in building and leasing the buses.

Navigating the Aftermath of a Google Bus Accident 

When an accident involving a Google tech bus occurs, determining who’s responsible and how best to approach the situation can be daunting. This is where the Expertise of attorney Michael Ehline comes into play.

Bus accidents are particularly complex due to the various parties that could be culpable. It could be the driver, the tech company, or the bus manufacturer. This is where Michael Ehline shines, using his vast experience as a transportation company owner and now a respected attorney to dissect the case and determine where the liability lies. 

For instance, if we take the November 6 incident, there’s an array of potential defendants. If the driver was at fault due to negligence, such as reckless driving or intoxication, a lawsuit could be filed against them for injuries to the person inside or damaged vehicles. It could also be against Google if it comes to light that they failed to ensure the safety of their buses or negligently hired an unfit driver. 

The Role of Michael Ehline in Accident Lawsuits 

WitEhline’smplexities of such cases, you need expert representation. Michael Ehline’s vast experience in the transportation industry and his legal Expertise make him an invaluable asset when tackling tech bus companies or the company owner. Ehline appreciates the transportation companies’ ins and outs, translating into a deeper understanding of potential liability areas if collisions happen. 

As your attorney, he will work tirelessly to investigate the crash, gather evidence, and identify the liable parties causing the significant damage. He will act appropriately against the at-fault parties while protecting your rights. 

Types of Compensation You Can Seek 

In such claims, typically, you’re entitled to various forms of compensation depending on the nature and extent of your injuries. 

  1. Medical Expenses: This covers the cost of treatment received following the accident and potential future medical bills related to your injuries.
  2. Lost Earnings: If the accident has hindered your ability to work temporarily or permanently, you can claim compensation for lost wages and loss of earning capacity.
  3. Pain and Suffering: Here, you can seek damagesEhline’s physical pain or emotional distress caused by the accident.

Although this process can be complex and daunting, Ehline’s Expertise will strive to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and Suffering. Remember, in the world of litigations, you’re not alone.

Google Bus Operates a Fleet of Electric Tech Buses for Employee Transportation

For many years, Google has made strides in creating a greener business model as part of its shuttle fleet. One manifestation of this initiative is the fleet of electric buses they employ for employee transportation. These tech buses in San Francisco serve as a convenient transportation solution, reducing the cost of personal vehicles on the road while contributing to reduced greenhouse gas emissions typical of a diesel commuter bus. 

The Intricacies of Google’s Tech Bus Fleet 

The Google bus fleet is not a regular line of buses you might encounter at city transit stations. Instead, these are state-of-the-art electric buses packed with technology to enhance efficiency and passenger comfort.

Some highlights of these vehicles include: 

  • Advanced navigational technology for optimal route selection
  • High-capacity batteries for long-range travel
  • An onboard digital communication system for passengers.

Google operates a fleet of electric tech buses for employee transportation.

Moreover, these buses have been designed to run smoothly in urban and suburban environments, adapting dynamically to the ever-changing traffic patterns. However, like all vehicles, these buses also carry potential risks and liabilities, especially when there is a system breakdown or negligence on the operator’s part.

Mitigating the Risk for Google Employees 

The driving force behind Google’s electric tech bus initiative is to provide its employees with a safe and efficient transportation option. The tech giant took various precautions to mitigate risks, including stringent hiring practices for bus drivers, regular maintenance of vehicles, and safety protocols for passengers. 

However, airlines can still happen despite these safety measures, as with the unfortunate November 6, 2023 incident. In these scenarios, Michael Ehline’s Expertise comes into play. His background as a transportation company owner and his legal prowess make him a formidable ally in seeking justice for any mishap that might occur.

What are the Dangers Associated with Google Electric and Tech Buses?

Electric and tech buses such as those run by Google, while innovative and eco-friendly, are not without their risks. Despite the numerous safety features and rigorous safety standards, these vehicles can and do get into accidents. These accidents may result from various factors. 

Driver Errors and Negligence 

Human error remains a significant contributor to road accidents. Drivers can make mistakes or act negligently, leading to accidents. This negligence could manifest as distracted driving, fatigue, speeding, or other behavior compromising road safety. 

Technical Malfunctions 

These buses are technologically complex, so technical malfunctions are not out of the question. Electrical faults, software errors, battery issues, or a breakdown in autonomous driving aren’t, among other problems, that can lead to accidents. 

Infrastructure Limitations 

Our current infrastructure isn’t entirely suited to accommodate electric and tech buses. The existing infrastructure can sometimes pose a risk, be it inadequate charging stations or roads not designed for these high-tech vehicles. 

Poor Weather Conditions 

Adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, fog, or icy roads can make driving particularly challenging. Electric and tech buses are not immune to these issues and can be involved in accidents during harsh weather. 

If you or a loved one has been involved in a severe car accident, you wonder who bears the liability.

What is the significance of the November 6, 2023 crash?

The November 6, 2023, was significant because it highlighted two significant concerns with Google’s electric and autonomous vehicles. The first issue concerns the reliability of automated driving systems, and the second concerns the vehicle’s mechanical integrity. The aftermath raises questions about who should be held responsible in these situations. 

The Incident of November 6, 2023 

On this fateful day, a Google electric bus crashed into a pedestrian crossing in Sunnyvale, California. We are not certain if it was an automated vehicle. But we have evidence it failed to stop at a designated crosswalk, resulting in severe injuries to a person involved. 


Google later suggested that a software glitch may have contributed to the crash, raising doubts about the robustness of Google’s self-driving technology. Additionally, mechanical issues became evident when the auto brake failed to respond as expected. 

Implications of the Crash 

The incident underscored the real-world risks posed by automation in transportation, aka self-driving cars. Despite extensive programming and testing, autonomous products can still malfunction and contribute to accidents. 

Furthermore, the crash exposed potential oversights in the product’s design and manufacturing process. Even with cutting-edge technology, ineffective mechanical backup systems could have fatal results. This accident reminded everyone of the need for tangible assurances against technical and mechanical failures. 

Legal Responsibility in Case of Tech Bus Accidents 

But who bears the legal responsibility when a tech bus accident occurs? It can typically be the bus manufacturer, the software provider, or perhaps even the city administration responsible for road infrastructure. Lawsuits stemming from such accidents can be complicated, emphasizing the need for experienced legal representation

With experience in transportation and law, Michael Ehline is well-equipped to help you identify the best course of action. Situations like the November 6, 2023 crash led Ehline from the transportation business to his law professional goal to ensure responsible parties are held accountable, and accident victims receive due compensation.

It might come as a shock, but if you’re a victim in a bus collision, there could be circumstances where you’re held partially or entirely accountable for any damages. Even if you weren’t driving the crashed vehicle, you’re not necessarily exempt from bearing some blame. 

Likewise, in other motor vehicle incidents in California, concepts like shared fault and comparative negligence also apply to bus accidents. While it seems easy to point fingers at the bus driver or the other driver involved, as many often do, it’s not always that straightforward, says our experienced accident attorney in San Francisco from Ehline Law

Who Can Be Sued for Accidents With Google Electric and Tech Buses?

In the wake of an accident involving Google electric and tech buses, you might wonder who can be held accountable. Identifying the liable parties is a crucial first step toward seeking compensation for whatever injuries or damages you may have incurred. The actual assignment of negligence in bus accidents can be more complex, as multiple parties could be held accountable for injuries or fatalities.

A few likely subsidiary’s a lawsuit could target include: 

Google Inc. or Bus Company

As the parent company, Google is technically responsible for its subsidiary’s operation – in this case, the electric and tech buses. If it’s proven that Google failed to oversee the drivers of their buses, you may have grounds to sue them. The company, whether a private entity or a public body (city, district, municipality, etc.) that operates or owns the bus and failed to maintain and inspect the bus properly, hired unfit bus drivers, didn’t conduct adequate background checks, etc.

The Municipal or County Government 

The local municipal or county government could be held accountable if the incident involved poorly maintained roadways, broken traffic signals, or similar infrastructure issues. Remember that filing a lawsuit against a government entity is subject to different laws and regulations, which can be tricky to navigate. That’s when you need a competent attorney like Michael Ehline.

The Bus Driver 

Looking at the images and video, officers say they may be held liable if the act resulted from the driver’s negligence or reckless behavior. Bus drivers breaching traffic rules or failing to comply with federal and state bus driving regulations (for instance, when a bus driver brakes too abruptly). Examples of such behavior could include intoxication, texting while driving, etc. If so, being hospitalized, for example, is the least of your concerns on scene.

Another Vehicle or Vehicles

The other driver involved in the accident who was negligent or violated traffic rules could also be at fault.

Maintenance Company 

Should there be clear evidence of shoddy or substandard maintenance work that contributed to the crash, we could also focus on the company responsible for maintaining the tech buses. This could range from poor part replacements to negligent inspections. Either way, settlements can improve safety by showing bus companies their chances of being sued go down with each legal problem resolved.

Identifying the correct parties to sue in an accident involving Google tech buses requires a thorough understanding of not just the law but also the technical composure of how these buses operate. An experienced practitioner like Michael Ehline can significantly expedite this process.

Bus Manufacturer 

If a flaw in the design or manufacturing of the bus contributed to the accident, the bus manufacturer could be held responsible. Product liability claims could be complex and usually require expert opinions to establish the link between the flaw and the accident. 

Another Bus Passenger

A passenger on the bus might have been injured but contributed to the accident by causing a distraction or in any other way.

How bus passengers could be held responsible for the crash? 

Our law firm often gets inquiries from bus passengers who are consistently faced with the same legal predicament: the bus driver and the bus company trying to push the blame onto them. Bus companies and attorneys often try to reduce the settlement or avoid responsibility by arguing that the injured bus passenger played a part in causing the accident or was wholly responsible for the crash. In most cases, the defense attorney argues that the passengers’ caused a distraction, leading to the accident. 

In several cases, multiple parties might be held liable, enhancing your personal injury claim’s value and boosting your chances of winning the lawsuit. Should numerous passengers get injured in the same bus accident, they may decide to file a class action lawsuit, meaning the settlement would be distributed among them.

The course for claiming damages mostly depends on who the injured party can sue following the bus accident, says our seasoned bus accident attorney in San Francisco. For instance, if you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit against a public body (local government, municipality, county, etc.), there are different rules to follow. 

Ehline’s Unique Advantage 

What sets Michael Ehline apart is his professional background in transportation management before he became a lawyer. This understanding of both worlds lends him a unique perspective and enhances his knowledge in dealing with accident lawsuits involving Google electric and tech buses. 

He understands the complexity of these cases, including analyzing technical reports, assessing driver conduct, examining maintenance records, and scrutinizing the actions of bus companies and manufacturers. With this knowledge, Ehline can help identify potential defendants in your lawsuit. 

Specific Compensation Ehline Can Pursue For You?

Victims of bus accidents could be entitled to various forms of compensation, depending on the nature of the accidents and the specific damages they have sustained. Michael Ehline’s extensive experience qualifies him to help you pursue the following. 

Medical Expenses 

Your health is the most important thing, and any medical costs associated with the accident should be covered. This can include emergency room fees, hospitalization costs, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and future medical expenses for ongoing care. 

Lost Wages 

If the accident took you out of your job, even temporarily, you might be entitled to recoup the income you would have earned. This can also extend to reduced earning capacity if your injuries have limited your ability to make it in the future and Suffering. Physical injuries are not the only damages that an accident can cause.

  • The trauma and emotional distress of the ordeal should not be underestimated, and you can seek compensation for your non-economic losses as well. 

In the aftermath of a bus accident, you need reliable assistance to navigate the complexities of your case. Michael Ehline’s background and proficiency in this field ensure he can help you. Insider investigating the causes of the accident, identifying the correct parties to sue, or calculating the damages you’re entitled to; Ehline’s Expertise will guide you through everything.

How Does Michael Ehline’s Experience as a Transportation Company Owner Contribute to Lawyer Expertise?

As a former transportation company owner, Michael Ehline carries an insider’s understanding of the transport industry. This unique viewpoint and his legal savvy make him a formidable advocate on your side in a Google electric and tech bus accident lawsuit. 

The Industry Perspective 

Ehline’s prior experience in the transportation sector allows him to see and understand the intricacies of the operations in a way your everyday lawyer might not be able to. He knows the requirements, the legal obligations, and the common shortcomings within this industry. Understanding helps him scrutinize your case’s details, including driver negligence, maintenance lapses, manufacturer errors, or other causes of an accident. Such insight aids in identifying and targeting the parties who bear the highest degrees of fault and, as a result, optimizes your financial recovery. 

Detailed Understanding of Regulations 

Michael Ehline’s experience in the transportation business also gives him a deep knowledge of the specific laws, rules, and regulations that govern this industry. He knows their ins and outs, allowing him to quickly identify any breaches that may have led to your accident. Being well-versed in these areas guarantees that no violation goes unnoticed, and every potential avenue for compensation is explored. 

Prizing Safety 

Our highest priority is getting you the largest settlement possible. As someone who once had to ensure the safety of passengers and goods in his own transportation company, Ehline prioritizes safety above all else. He understands that when this principle gets compromised in any way, catastrophic events like the November 6, 2023, Google tech bus crash can occur. Therefore, he champions your right to safety and vigorously fights for justice and compensation when violated. 

In conclusion, Google has a lot of work to do to win its old ally, the radical left, back into its corner. Tech buses serve as a reminder that there are two sides to every story and that politicians receiving campaign donations will bend over backward (no pun intended) against the local population. Michael Ehline’s unique blend of experiential knowledge in transportation and mastery in law ensures that you get the best representation possible if you do face a tech bus accident in San Francisco.

Michael Ehline is on your side. So you can rest assured that your Google bus crash remains in capable hands throughout the year as you heal. You can reach us today, 24/7, using our online contact us form or by dialing (213) 596-9642 for a free consultation.


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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.