Most people who use Uber and Lyft assume the services are safe. After all, rideshare services are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and we’d hear about it if they weren’t acting safely, right?Not so fast. What you might not realize is that these companies are allowed to keep a huge amount of safety information confidential from the public under a little-known exception to annual reporting known as Footnote 42. This footnote is so obscure, even some former officials from the CPUC say they weren’t aware of it.
Footnote 42 allows Uber and Lyft to withhold information if they deem it a trade secret. Recent investigations into the withheld information have revealed that much of it isn’t actually trade secrets, but safety reports about rideshare accidents the public may deserve to see.
Safety Statistics About California Rideshare Companies
Rideshare companies don’t want the public to see their secrets, but they can’t hide their traffic citations. Commander Robert O’Sullivan, former head of the San Francisco Police Department’s traffic unit, shared the following traffic citation statistics with a government transportation committee.
In one year, San Francisco rideshare drivers:
- Received 77% of all citations for driving in or obstructing a bike or traffic lane
- Made 74% of the U-turns that were cited by police
- Received 67% of all citations for driving in bus/public transport lanes
- Accounted for 54% of all miscellaneous citations, like crossing the double yellow line
- Accounted for 50% of all citations for failure to yield to pedestrians
It’s worth noting that the statistics above, which are from 2017, aren’t a fluke. The police department confirmed that in 2018 and 2019, rideshare drivers continued to receive the largest share of traffic citations on San Francisco’s roads.
Rideshare Companies are Paying Civil Settlements
Although Uber and Lyft sometimes shield themselves from responsibility for safety issues, they have also paid millions to people and regulatory agencies over safety failures. Some of the publicly-known fines and settlements include:
- The CPUC fined Uber $7.6 million and settled with Lyft for $30,000 over failures to report annual safety data.
- The CPUC fined Uber $750,000 for failures to comply with zero-tolerance policies for driving under the influence.
- Lyft settled with the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles for $500,000 over misleading the public about driver screening.
- Uber paid settlements of more than $217 million for privacy breaches and safety lapses between 2014 and 2019.
In one of California’s most famous cases, Uber paid the family of 6-year-old Sophia Liu a large but confidential sum after an Uber driver killed her in a crosswalk while he was looking down at his phone. This led to California Assembly Bill 2293 requiring rideshare companies to carry $1 million in insurance coverage for drivers with passengers on board.
Breaking News in 2020: Rideshare and the Law
Rideshare companies recently have been involved in an ongoing legal battle. After being ordered to pay more than $20 million in 2019 for questionable contractor/employment practices, you may have heard about a huge change in how the state of California views rideshare drivers. You should know that California law regarding rideshare services is constantly evolving. Lawmakers are scrambling to update the law. Learn the latest here.
Of course, rideshare accident victims are still on their own to pursue personal injury claims. It’s not easy to demand compensation. If you’re hurt in an accident due to the actions of an Uber or Lyft driver, you may have a hard time getting anyone – the rideshare company, the insurance company, or the individual driver – to actually write you a check.
This means having an experienced San Francisco Uber/Lyft accident attorney has just become more important than ever. Don’t face an uphill battle alone. Under California law, it’s your right to hire an attorney and sue for compensation over your rideshare accident.
Experience a serious Uber or Lyft car accident in California?
Check out our Uber Accident Page to learn more about how the process works.
We Handle Your Personal Injury Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including rideshare accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details. We truly care about the citizens of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.