Rideshare App Safety

The safety of rideshare apps, such as Uber and Lyft, has been questioned since their inception. Does the driver have responsible driving habits? Is the driver using the job to lure unsuspecting victims? Has the driver been drinking or doing drugs before the pickup? Is this even an actual rideshare driver? These are just a few of many safety concerns that have been questioned and have been addressed by these popular companies.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for young adults in the United States. It is important to have safe driving habits while on the road. However, when using a rideshare system, the passenger cannot control the driver’s actions or their mental state. To avoid accidents due to carelessness, these rideshare apps require driver’s licenses and have a rating system. Passengers can rate their rides and drivers with a star rating and can leave feedback. If a driver’s rating gets below a certain number, then they can be suspended or even banned from driving for that company. However, these are overall ratings are not specific. These can be elaborated to cleanliness, traffic safety, appropriateness, kindness, etc. to ensure that they are following the safest protocols.  Since these drivers are transporting people, they are charged as commercial vehicles in the event of an accident. Due to the risk of facing higher penalties after an accident, drivers are more likely to be responsible and try harder to avoid collisions.

One of the biggest fears regarding rideshare app usage is the risk of kidnapping and/or sexual assault. Many people use these apps to get home safely after a night of drinking. Unfortunately, some of their responsible actions have led to their kidnapping or abuse. There were 103 reports of abuse/ sexual assault during Uber drives between 2015 and 2018. These are alarming statistics. There was one report of a driver who kidnapped a woman who had fallen asleep in the back seat. He drove her to a motel room and sexually assaulted her. After a police investigation, it was discovered that he had a criminal record. While rideshare apps already do background checks, they should be conducting more extensive checks on the people they hire and continuously monitor them.

Another requirement that should be added to all rideshare vehicles is the implementation of cameras in all of their cars. Filming each ride will ensure that if anything inappropriate or any crime happens while the ride is ongoing, it will be saved as evidence. The cameras should record audio and visuals. Knowing that you are being filmed also deters people from doing the wrong thing.

Additionally, there are other current safety measures in place, but rideshare apps still need to improve them. Rides are currently tracked and can be shared with someone else. This sharing feature should be showcased and encouraged more so that someone else knows the passenger’s whereabouts. Uber has a new “phone safety app” that helps passengers confirm they are entering the correct vehicle. This emphasizes the license plate, the car model, and the picture and name of the driver. Passengers are, therefore, more aware of whose vehicle they are entering. This can also be enhanced by some sort of QR code scanning system that matches up between the driver and the passenger. A driver’s QR code cannot be easily replicated, so a passenger would be able to scan their code and would only enter the vehicle if it was a successful match. Also, drivers should not be allowed to change the address mid-drive. This should only be done by passengers and require their passwords.

Overall, while rideshare apps have implemented safety features, they can still be improved. The rating system can be elaborated upon to specify different aspects of the drive, including how well they follow traffic laws. Some rideshare vehicles already have cameras, but it should be required in them all. Drivers should not be allowed to change the destinations and they should have extensive and recurring background checks run on them. If these safety features are applied and improved, rideshare passengers will be much safer.

References:

Drunk Ride-Share Drivers: Uber Accident Attorney. (2020, April 21). Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://ankinlaw.com/drunk-uber-drivers/

N. Feedback is a Two-Way Street: Uber Newsroom US. (2014, April 24). Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://www.uber.com/newsroom/feedback-is-a-2-way-street

Rideshare Safety Alerts: Chicago Uber Accident Attorney. (2020, April 21). Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://ankinlaw.com/uber-alert-system/

Rideshare Safety: Uber Accident Attorney in Chicago. (2020, April 21). Retrieved July 01, 2020, from https://ankinlaw.com/rideshare-services-safety/

Published by demilamas

Welcome! I am a JD candidate studying at Florida International University College of Law.

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