Is Uber the New 9-1-1?

Uber Car Crash Lawyer

In November 2015, a Grand Rapids, Michigan man was shot and was bleeding heavily. Instead of calling 911, he called an Uber.

Slow ambulance response times and the astronomical service fees that follow, have many individuals taking matters into their own hands, or phones actually. Individuals in need of emergency care are now picking up their smartphones, opening their favorite ridesharing app, and instead of adding their local bar as their destination, users are requesting to be dropped off at the nearest emergency room. Uber, in particular, has responded to this trend by creating a non-emergency transportation application to help healthcare providers, Uber Health.

Distressed people find themselves waiting long periods of time for an emergency vehicle to arrive. These slow response times have caused life-threatening obstacles for many individuals. In 2013, “the city of Detroit had fewer than 10 working ambulances. A 911 caller with a medical emergency was likely to wait 20 minutes or more for help to arrive,” according to the Altarum Institute. In 2014, Detroit had seen some of its worst response times in decades. In January 2014, the average response time of Detroit's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was 18 minutes, as mentioned by, The Motor City Muckraker. But, the article also mentions that in 2015, The City of Detroit saw an increase from 12 to 25 EMS vehicles after Mayor Mike Duggan took office, and started an initiative to improve Detroit’s ambulance response time. The article also mentions that the initiative, which began in April 2015, saw response times surpassing the national average, dropping 10 minutes to 8 minutes and 30 seconds.

But even with improved emergency service response times, many individuals are still choosing ridesharing services over calling 9-1-1. Why? Ambulance rides are expensive! A deciding factor in choosing transportation for many individuals is how much it will cost them. People love Uber for the simple reasons that they can arrive at a destination quickly and without breaking their wallets. And when the price of an ambulance ride to the hospital can range from $600 to $1,000, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, it’s no wonder people prefer an Uber! According to the University of Kansas, “the use of Uber in cities across the country has reduced per capita ambulance volume by at least 7%,” likely because patients want to avoid the expensive ambulance ride with paramedics. The study looked at ambulance rates in 766 U.S. cities across 43 states from the time Uber was made available in the area from 2013-2015.

Although taking an Uber to the hospital may be much cheaper and at times faster, it might not be a medically sound decision to rule out an ambulance. A 5-star uber driver may provide bottled water and your choice of music but ambulances come equipped with trained professionals who provide life-saving care! Also, an emergency vehicle can legally impede traffic to race an individual to an emergency room, where ridesharing services cannot.

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While Uber does not encourage using their services in place of emergency care, they have recognized the need for more efficient and easy to use transportation in the medical sector, and have introduced Uber Health. According to Uber, “Uber health is a technology solution for healthcare organizations that leverages the ride hailing power of Uber platform... the app allows hospitals and other healthcare professionals to request, manage, and pay for rides for others, at a scale.” Healthcare organizations use Uber Health to allow patients to request or schedule a ride to and from their place or treatment, and for staff to get to and from work, 24/7. Uber Health is currently available in the United States everywhere Uber is already available. According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “services like Uber Health could help patients avoid missing appointments because of lack of affordable transportation.”

But it should be stressed again that Uber Health is not an alternative to calling 911, but rather an aid for healthcare providers to arrange higher quality transportation services for patients. Requesting ridesharing services instead of emergency vehicles because of slow EMS response times or hefty medical bills may put injured victims at a higher risk of not getting proper medical attention.


Calling an Uber to go to the ER for a paper cut is a better idea than calling an ambulance. But, taking an Uber to the ER after experiencing a heart attack may not be the best medical decision. No one likes going to the hospital or dealing with piling medical bills. The personal injury attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PC understand the frustration that injured victims feel and help them so they can focus on their recovery. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Could HUBO Robot Save Lives?

Whether it’s winter or summer, every two years people all over the world tune in for the Olympics. This year’s Winter Olympics were held in PyeongChang, South Korea. An important and arguably one of the most popular parts of the Olympics, is the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony contains performances and events that officially start the beginning of the Olympics.

One special event within the opening ceremony, is the lighting of the torch. The Olympic torch relay that is completed in today’s modern Olympics honors the ancient games that started it all. The ancient games took place in Olympia, Greece and used the sun to light the torch, to ensure purity. A flame burned on the altar of the Greek Goddess Hestia, and such fires were also lit on the altars of Zeus and Hera, during the ancient games. During the modern day Olympics, the flames are lit for the entire duration of the Olympics and are extinguished at the end of the games at the closing ceremony.

This year’s Olympic torch lighting was done a little differently. HUBO the humanoid robot, created by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science (KAIST) and was included in the relay race and ran the final leg of the relay in the city of PyeongChang,South Korea. HUBO was developed by Professor Jun Ho Oh from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST University, and is best known for being the winner of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge in 2015.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge is a competition encouraging participants to develop semi-autonomous ground robots that can do complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments, which falls in line with DARPA’s mission statement, “Creating breakthrough technologies and capabilities for national security.” In 2015, there were over 22 different robots created by robotics teams from all around the world, for the challenge. HUBO completed every challenge faster than any other robot in the DARPA competition. The challenges that the robots have to complete are tasks that can be used during any disaster situation. The tasks include:

DARPA Robotics Challenge Requirements

1. Drive a utility vehicle at the site.

2. Travel dismounted across rubble.

3. Remove debris blocking an entryway.

4. Open a door and enter a building.

5. Climb an industrial ladder and traverse an industrial walkway.

6. Use a tool to break through a concrete panel.

7. Locate and close a valve near a leaking pipe.

8. Connect a fire hose to a standpipe and turn on a valve.

KAIST university reported that the HUBO was mainly created for disaster rescue operations. While HUBO was created with ambitious goals, one more humble way it might be able to save lives is by helping car accident victims. Even if technology advances to only have autonomous cars on the road, there may always still be a risk of car accidents happening. In the present time, when 1.3 million car accidents happen per year, worldwide according to Safe International Road Travel, and over 1 million people are killed each year from car accidents, according to the NHTSA, HUBO may be able to help at the scene of a motor vehicle accident. One main problem with how we deal with car accidents today is the often times slow response time of overworked and understaffed first responders, especially in major cities like Detroit, which has a response time of about 52 minutes per accident, according to Bridge News.  

A robot like HUBO may be able to help create faster response times and in some situations, may provide safer and quicker help than human responders who may have to put their own lives at risk. HUBO can move debris and break through concrete walls, and may be able to adapt its skills to pry open a crushed vehicle, allowing people trapped in a potentially fatal situation under the vehicle's weight, to be helped. And HUBO may be able to cut metal faster than it takes a couple of firefighters to operate the jaws of life. So, not only can HUBO save lives quicker but it may make first responders’ jobs safer. First responders’ won’t have to move or cut open cars or large debris, so it lowers the risk of them getting injured while trying to help somebody who was involved in a car accident. 

Hopefully, HUBO will be fully operational and deployed in life saving situations, all over the world, very soon!


With technology advancing as quickly as it is, people should be aware of everything that technology has to offer. Robots like HUBO can have a huge impact on car accidents and help lessen the number of people injured or killed in car crashes. If you have been involved in a car accident, call a car accident attorney from The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

It's National Traffic Incident Response Week!

Most of us know to some extent that we need to slow down when an emergency vehicle is approaching, but do you know exactly what the law says? The Federal Highway Administration has declared the week of November 13-19, 2017, to be National Traffic Incident Response Week. The goal of the week is to raise awareness regarding the proper response when sharing the road with first responders. This week aims to remind drivers that they need to slow down and pull over, as well as help drivers be more aware of what laws their state specifically has in regard to emergency vehicles on the road. 

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

According to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), traffic incidents are the number one cause of death for EMT/EMS responders, and one of the leading causes of death for police officers. Nearly 13% of police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty are killed in traffic incidents. OHS also notes that traffic incident managers often report that drivers simply are just unaware of the laws, in their state, regarding what to do if they are involved in an automobile accident. OHS suggests the following steps drivers can take in order to make the roads safer for first responders.

How Drivers Can Minimize First Responder Dangers

  • If you can steer it, clear it: After a fender-bender or crash, if (and only if) your car is driveable and there are no injuries, move your car to the shoulder or a nearby safe place off the road. Many drivers think they should not move their car until the police arrive and they can make an accident report, but this is false and can put drivers, their cars, and other people at risk.

  • Slow down and move over: When you pass by an incident scene and/or see lights, vests, or reflectors, slow down and move over. This provides a protective buffer for you, for emergency responders, and for the motorists behind you. You can get a ticket if you don't slow down and move over.

  • Drive safely: As always, drive sober and without distractions such as cell phones. Use your seat belt and stay aware of your surroundings.

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In the state of Michigan, there is a law on the books specifically regarding emergency vehicles. The Emergency Vehicle Caution Law, also known as the Move Over Law, applies to police, fire, rescue, ambulance, and road service vehicles.

Michigan Move Over Law

On Roads With Two or More Lanes of Travel in the Same Direction

  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated carefully move over into an open lane.

  • If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

On Roads With One Lane of Travel in Each Direction

  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated carefully move over into an open adjacent lane.

  • If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

Drivers who violate the law face misdemeanor penalties. This can result in 4 points going on the driver’s license and/or fees and fines of up to $150. If violation of the law results in injury or death of a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency response person, the driver could face 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $7500.

First responders are there to keep us safe, especially if we find ourselves involved in a motor vehicle accident. As drivers, we need to repay the favor by making sure that first responders are safe when they’re on our roads. Being aware of your state’s laws so you know exactly what you need to do is best for keeping first responders safe, as well as keeping you out of legal trouble. By keeping first responders safe, we're helping them keep us safe.


While first responders are there to keep us safe in the event of a car collisions, they can't prevent them from happening. If you have been involved in an automobile accident call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation  with an experienced accident attorney today.