Calling an Uber: It Doesn’t Mean Asking for Injuries

September 19, 2018 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Calling an Uber: It Doesn’t Mean Asking for Injuries

Safety Afforded by Your Uber or Lyft Ride

There's a common misconception among many people that calling for a Lyft or Uber ride means that you're asking for injuries. The ride-sharing service offers a number of key advantages to its riders—not the least of which is a safe, sober driver if you've been out drinking—but due to the high publication level of accidents, especially fatal accidents, that occur while using these platforms. Many passengers find themselves struggling with whether or not this is the wisest choice for them. The reality, however, is that ridesharing services shouldn't be unsafe. In fact, calling for an Uber might be safer than getting behind the wheel on your own!

Uber Makes Safer Streets

Getting into a car with a stranger seems a little sketchy to many people. Sure, it's a better option than drinking and driving, but is it really that much safer? Actually, as a recent study covering 150 cities where Uber was in use proved, Uber makes cities safer in general. In cities where Uber is commonly used, there's a marked decrease in the number of DUI citations and fatal accidents throughout the city. Because hailing a safe ride is as easy as pressing a few buttons on an app, most people are less likely to make unsafe riding choices. In general, this means safer streets as a whole. If you've been out drinking, it's always safer to call an Uber than it is to try to drive home on your own! If you're worried about accepting a ride from a stranger, note that you can always share a ride with a friend who also needs to get home safely, or take other steps to help protect yourself when you're on the road with an Uber driver. Consider letting someone know where you are and when you expect to arrive, or using an emergency app on your phone that will notify first responders or friends if you're in trouble.

The Requirements for Uber and Lyft Drivers

Uber and Lyft both share your concerns about unsafe drivers. After all, unsafe drivers manning their vehicles would quickly lead to a very bad reputation, which would lead to fewer passengers using the service! As a result, both services have implemented stringent requirements for their drivers.

Uber's Requirements

Uber drivers can't be just anyone off the street who happens to have a car. In order to be a driver, they must:
  • Have a vehicle that meets the specific year requirements for the city in which Uber drivers are operating. Often, this will mean that you're riding in a safer vehicle that meets specific minimum safety requirements.
  • Drive a four-door car, truck, or minivan, which will offer passengers the ability to decide to ride in the back if they feel safer.
  • Be at least 21 years of age or older. The minimum age requirement is raised to 23 in some cities.
  • Be able to pass a background check.
  • Have a minimum of three years' driving experience.
  • Have a clean driving record.
The intended Uber driver must also carry insurance for the vehicle in question and be named on that vehicle. It's necessary for these drivers to carry specific insurance related to the ride-sharing service, rather than simply carrying a standard insurance policy.

Lyft's Requirements

Lyft also offers a number of driver requirements that help protect passenger safety. Drivers who work for Lyft must:
  • Be at least 21 years old and have held a license for at least one year
  • Have three or fewer moving violations, including running red lights and speeding, over the past three years
  • Have a driving record clear of DUIs and other reckless driving charges, including charges for which legal action was taken
  • Pass a background check, including having a background that is clear of sex, drug, and violence-related charges
  • Carry current insurance, including insurance that is specifically designed for ride-sharing services
Lyft drivers must also keep up with specific vehicle requirements, which will vary based on the city where they work. In Florida, depending on the city, Lyft drivers may be required to have a vehicle that is from 2006 or newer. In other cities, it must be at least a 2002. They must also have four doors and between five and eight seats. All of these requirements are specifically intended to help ensure the safety of all passengers in ride-sharing vehicles.

Safety in Uber and Lyft Reviews

Both Uber and Lyft also offer an additional safety feature: the ability to leave reviews on your driver. It takes just a few seconds to indicate how satisfied you were with your driver. This can include both personal considerations, such as how talkative the driver was or whether or not they made you uncomfortable, but your review should also include any safety issues. Make sure you leave a review commenting if your driver:
  • Made any inappropriate advances toward you
  • Committed moving violations, including speeding, running red lights or stop signs, etc.
  • Participated in any unsafe driving behavior, especially erratic driving
  • Seemed to be intoxicated while driving
  • Committed any violent actions or actions that were perceived as violent
When you leave a review, you aren't just protecting yourself against the possibility that you'll end up with the same driver again in the future. You're also helping to make the Uber and Lyft community safer for everyone who uses it. With every rider committed to offering reviews that will help improve rider safety, it's possible to substantially improve the program as a whole.

What to do After an Uber Accident

There is always a risk of a car accident whenever you are the passenger of a vehicle taking to the road. Uber can be a safer alternative to get your self home in certain situations but it's not foolproof. Accidents can happen and it's important to know how to proceed in the event you experience and Uber or Lyft accident. First and foremost remember that your safety is the priority. If you are in danger or have suffered an injury then make sure to address that first before attempting anything else. If someone else is injured then they also become a priority to assist as long as it is no danger to you. If no one is significantly hurt then remember that details and documentation are your friend. Obtain names, license plate numbers, the time, pictures of the accident scene etc. since they can all help down the road. Even if you do not feel injured by an Uber or Lyft accident, it is a good idea to get examined by a physician since symptoms of an injury can sometimes be delayed. The sooner you get examined the better in the event that you do have an injury and have to make a claim. As an Uber or Lyft Passenger you are completely covered by Uber or Lyft's insurance that can cover your damages that may go over $1 million.

Seek an Experienced Florida Uber and Lyft Accident Attorney

When you take an Uber, you want to know that you'll be safe. While both Uber and Lyft take many important steps to ensure that the ride will be as safe as possible, things won't always go exactly the way you'd hoped—and sometimes, the results can be catastrophic. If your Uber trip didn't turn out the way you'd hoped, whether as a result of an accident or due to inappropriate driver behavior, you need appropriate legal representation. Contact us today at (727) 451-6900 for a free consultation, or to learn more about your legal rights when you've taken an Uber or Lyft. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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