The Guardian and CNET are reporting on a recent pilot program in Pennsylvania for self-driving Uber vehicles wherein passengers are being required to waive their right to sue the company if something goes wrong. Passengers who chose to ride in these vehicles get a "free ride," and don't have to pay their usual fare, however, they must agree to waive their right to sue in the event of an accident. The Gaurdian has reported that one police officer signed a waiver on June 23rd, that reads:
I acknowledge that some or all of the AVs in which I ride are in a development phase, are experimental in nature, and that riding in an AV may involve the potential for death, serious injury, and/or property loss.” Gaurdians recent article describes that Uber admits to filming passengers inside and outside the vehicle, as well as requiring them to sign a waiver acknowledging the risk of injury and waiving their right to sue the company in the event of an injury. The agreement apparently has an arbitration clause that states: "By agreeing to the Terms, you agree that you are required to resolve any claim that you may have against Uber on an individual basis in arbitration, as set forth in this Arbitration Agreement."It continues: "This will preclude you from bringing any class, collective, or representative action against Uber, and also preclude you from participating in or recovering relief under any current or future class, collective, consolidated, or representative action brought against Uber by someone else."
It is unclear at this time, if this agreement is enforcible or if Uber can force passengers to waive it's own negligence. Indeed, in some states, negligence cannot be waived. However, Uber may be able to argue that an injured passenger has assumed the risk of injury by accepting the terms of the "free ride."