Witness Saw Uber Robot Car Drive Through Red Light Three Weeks Ago in San Francisco, Says Consumer Watchdog

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A witness alleges that he saw an Uber robot car drive through a red light in San Francisco three weeks ago, and he contacted Consumer Watchdog with the information. Consumer Watchdog today shared details of the incident with the Department of Motor Vehicles to assist in its possible investigation.

Uber began offering rides with its self-driving cars without the required state permit on Dec. 14. The red-light violation occurred well before that, according to Christopher Koff, who witnessed the incident and contacted Consumer Watchdog about it.

"Uber was flouting the law and operating unsafely using San Francisco's streets as a private laboratory well before they went public," said John M. Simpson of Consumer Watchdog. "The state must shut this renegade operation down. We believe there is a violation that should be investigated."

Read Consumer Watchdog's letter to the DMV on our website: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org

Christopher Koff, who operates a café in San Francisco, alleges that about three weeks ago he witnessed an Uber self-driving vehicle with an operator behind the wheel talking to a passenger with a laptop. Mr. Koff reports he saw the car drive through a red light and then pull to the side of the road and stop after crossing the intersection. Another vehicle had to brake abruptly to avoid a crash in the intersection, he said. Mr. Koff reports that the man in the driver's seat did not have his hands on the steering wheel when the robot car went through the red light.

"This is further proof of Uber's flagrant flouting of the law and its unsafe operation on San Francisco's streets," Consumer Watchdog's letter to the DMV said. "Consumer Watchdog urges you to contact Mr. Koff, who is willing to discuss what he witnessed."

Details of how to reach Mr. Koff are available by calling Consumer Watchdog at 310-392-7041.

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