Ride-Hailing Safety – What Do You Know About Your Uber and Lyft Driver?
Uber and Lyft are two of the most well known “taxi” services resulting from the new phenomenon of a shared economy. These two companies make it super easy to hail a ride using user-friendly apps on your smart phone. They also offer competitive rates that make using their services more appealing. But who exactly is driving you around and how are they being screened?
Let’s take a closer look at Uber and Lyft’s hiring criteria and policies to shed light on that issue.
The websites for Uber and Lyft set forth their respective liability insurance coverage, constantly-monitored customer support phone lines, DMV and criminal background checks and zero-tolerance policies with respect to drug and alcohol abuse. Uber’s website appears to emphasis anonymity with respect to its rider-experience rating systems. Such a rating system can prove useful as a mechanism to prevent retaliation for a passenger that feels to urge to write a whistle-blowing review.
Importantly, many State officials are pushing Uber, Lyft and similar companies to use fingerprinting as an additional means of background check. They argue that using fingerprint will help pick up relevant information about drivers that would otherwise fall through the cracks of the routine DMV and criminal background investigation.
On the other hand, ride-hailing drivers are also subject to safety concerns from their passengers. Most news stories report just the opposite, warning passengers of the horrors that accompany shared economy ride-sharing ventures. A quick search on the internet, however, reveals viral videos of passengers attacking ride-hailing drivers. For the most part, such risks to drivers have not received much attention from commenters. Unfortunately, because Uber and Lyft drivers, for example, are engaged as independent contractors, there is limited action that either company can take to protect drivers.
Indeed, the giants of the ride-hailing service industry have argued regularly to reclassify drivers as employees to no avail. Some of the social benefits of the uprise of Uber and Lyft is the fact that they help take drunk drivers off the road (and those that would otherwise text and drive). Ironically, drunk passengers can become belligerent in route to their destination and there isn’t much a driver can do to weed out the unruly passengers. A driver may opt to steer clear of local pubs altogether but would take an economic hit for doing so.
Should you have any further questions regarding your experience or injuries while using Uber, Lyft or similar ride-hailing services, or would like a free consultation regarding a potential claim please contact our firm at 1.888.US4.JURY. We can help walk you through the legal aspects of your questions.