Cruise was fined the maximum allowable fine of $112,500 for burying evidence in the incident where their car dragged a pedestrian 20 feet. But the self-driving car company got off easy, as state regulators rejected calls for an independent investigation into what actually happened.

When a Cruise self-driving robotaxi dragged a pedestrian 20 feet the night of October 2, 2023, the fallout hobbled the company. The California DMV suspended the company’s permits, Cruise suspended driverless vehicle operations, and then recalled all of its vehicles nationwide. Cruise also paid that pedestrian victim $8 million in a settlement.

And it came out over the events that Cruise had withheld evidence from state regualtors after the incident, to which Cruise has since admitted. So the California Public Utilites Commission just hit Cruise with the maximum allowable fine for that. But as the Examiner reports, that “maximum” fine is a mere $112,500.

Cruise had asked for an even smaller fine of just $75,000. But the CPUC declined to perform an independent, SFMTA-requested investigation into what actually happened, instead relying on the supposedly independent report that Cruise paid an outside law firm to conduct.  

“Approval of the Settlement Agreement terms will bring this dispute to a close, which will permit Commission staff to devote their resources to Cruise’s regulatory oversight rather than engage in potentially protracted litigation,” CPUC’s administrative law Judge Robert Mason III wrote in his ruling.

The paltry fine and lack of investigation seem to not even amount to a slap on the wrist for Cruise. The company probably knows this, and seems pleased with the outcome.

“Over the past several months, we have taken important steps to improve our leadership, processes and culture,” Cruise spokesperson Hannah Lindow said in a statement to the Examiner. “As we continue to make forward progress, we are committed to working collaboratively with the Commission in service of our shared goals to provide greater transparency and public safety to our communities.”

Cruise has relaunched operations in Houston, Texas within the last month, and as TechCrunch notes, this settlement “puts Cruise in a position to restart operations” in California.

Related: State Commission Alleges That Cruise Withheld Evidence, Misled Public in Pedestrian-Dragging Incident [SFist]

Image via Cruise