The days of hailing a taxi cab at the airport seem to be fading away as the popularity of rideshare apps continues to grow. As companies such as Uber and Lyft expand across the country, cities are seeing an increase in the number of car accidents involving rideshare drivers. On the surface, these accidents may seem to have the same root causes as any other. However, rideshare drivers face a unique set of challenges and expectations, which often cause them to make risky moves behind the wheel. In this article, we discuss some of the common causes of rideshare accidents.
Distractions are one of the leading causes of Uber accidents. The fundamental nature of rideshare apps involves drivers using their phones. They must click on the screen to accept or decline a ride. They may need to place a call to a rider for location clarification. All those essential tasks of employment compel the driver to shift their attention from the road to their screens. While Uber’s official policy requires drivers to use a hands-free mount and forbids them from using their phone for anything other than navigating, drivers report this isn’t always a realistic expectation.
Lyft and Uber drivers are under an enormous amount of pressure to get where they are going fast. Their income is directly linked to the quantity of rides they complete. The faster they drive, the more rides they log in a day. They also face the risk of customers canceling a ride request if they are taking too long to arrive. If an impatient rider leaves a poor review because of a long wait, a driver’s customer satisfaction score may decrease, causing the app algorithm to assign them less desirable fares. Drivers have a lot of incentive to ignore speed limits.
When a driver navigates roads they are unaccustomed to traveling, it forces them to rely heavily on the GPS screen. A driver is juggling a lot when they are unsure if the map is headed north or south and they have only a few moments before the dense traffic forces them to commit to a lane. This constant shift of attention from map to road leads to dangerous driving behaviors, such as sudden lane changes or turns. Unfortunately, this type of erratic driving is a common cause of Lyft accidents.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Rideshare drivers put a lot of miles on their vehicles. While Lyft and Uber require drivers to get their cars inspected before allowing them to initially use the app, there is no assurance drivers will keep up on the suggested continued maintenance. When drivers don’t take the responsibility of maintaining their cars seriously, their passengers may suffer. Bald tires, worn brake pads, and leaking transmissions can put drivers and passengers in increased danger.
Driver Burn Out
Rideshare drivers spend a lot of time on the road to make ends meet. Sources estimate the average hourly driver wage ranges anywhere from $25 an hour to less than $10. Inadequate compensation combined with the costs of insurance premiums and vehicle maintenance often push drivers to work long hours. So much time sitting behind the wheel could lead drivers to unsafe levels of fatigue. Drivers may also work odd hours to take advantage of bonus incentives such as surge hours or streaks.
Unsafe Loading and Unloading
It is not only passengers who are at risk of getting into an accident with an Uber driver. Pedestrians and bicyclists report a growing number of concerns with drivers parked and waiting for passengers in problematic places. Drivers often pull into bike lanes or block sidewalk ramps to drop their passengers as close to their destinations as possible. Cyclists may be forced into harm’s way and ride into traffic to avoid an illegally stopped car. Picking up riders on a crowded street just after 2 AM bar close can be chaotic. One of the causes of Lyft accidents involving pedestrians is distracted drivers searching the congested sidewalks for someone matching the picture of their next passenger. They may be too busy scanning the crowd to realize they are about to roll through a crosswalk.
Who Can Help Me?
If you are injured in an accident caused by a rideshare driver, Glugeth & Pierguidi, P.C., can help you navigate the claims process. Our history of collecting millions of dollars on behalf of our clients means we have the experience to take on insurance companies, wealthy rideshare businesses, and their drivers. If you want fair financial compensation from Lyft or Uber’s legal team, you need a passionate and strategic personal injury lawyer fighting for your rights.
At Glugeth & Pierguidi, P.C., we believe drivers and companies should be held accountable for causing harm. Our fierce loyalty and aggressive legal approach enable us to pursue justice for our clients. Call today for an obligation-free consultation and learn how you can become a member of our client family.