Is Uber Safe for Our Kids?

Our Kids and the Safety of Uber

Thanks for checking out Sally Morin Law's California personal injury law blog. Here we talk about how more and more kids are using Uber. It may be convenient, but is Uber safe for kids?

In today's busy world it's hard to keep up with all of our obligations. We often use technology (and technology-based services like Uber) to help us "multitask" and delegate certain activities to free ourselves up. Unfortunately, a shocking recent news report highlights just how often parents use Uber as a surrogate for themselves. But really, how safe is Uber for our kids?

A KPRC Houston reporter found that a large number of children (legal minors) have been using ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft with or without their parents knowledge. How does this happen?

  1. A child accesses an adult's mobile account and orders a car
  2. A child creates their own account (with their own credit card or someone else's)
  3. The parent (or responsible adult) orders a rideshare for the child

These children are getting rides to and from school, extracurricular activities like sports, and wherever they please. Such use of ridesharing technology is against the safety policies put in place by companies like Uber and Lyft.

Indeed, Uber's own policy about kids states:

"In most cities, a rider must be at least 18 years of age to have an Uber account and request rides. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by someone 18 years of age or older on any ride. As a driver-partner in a city that doesn't allow minors to ride, you should decline the ride request if you believe the person requesting the ride is under 18. When picking up riders, if you feel they are underage, you may request they provide a driver's license or ID card for confirmation. If a rider is underage, please do not start the trip or allow them to ride."

Lyft has a similar policy about minors in place:

"Unaccompanied minors are prohibited from traveling with most carriers, including TNCs. A passenger must be 18 to sign up for a Lyft account, but if a driver believes a passenger might be underage, the driver may ask the passenger to confirm their age."

While it sounds harmless on the surface, try to imagine the worst case scenario. When your kid is alone with an unknown Uber driver, that driver is not a replacement for a responsible adult. 

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Drivers Are Not Guardians

The primary danger here may be placing your child in the care of an unknown adult.  You wouldn't simply hand your kid off to any stranger walking along the street so why then would you trust a third party service provider like an Uber or Lyft driver? They may have undergone background checks but those checks don't tell you whether or not that adult is fit to care for a child.

To complicate matters even more, if the particular driver is involved in an Uber accident while an underage kid is in the car, things can get messy quickly.

  1. That driver cannot be held responsible to make critical care decisions for that kid.
  2. That driver cannot be expected to contact the parents or guardians of the kid in the event of an accident.
  3. That driver is not legally liable for that kid's safety in crashes caused by other motorists.

If the kid is severely injured, any delay in getting necessary medical treatment could compound injuries leading to permanent disability and death. In some cases this could result in potential legal action against that child's parent or guardian.

If you or your child has suffered serious injury due to a San Jose Uber accident, contact us by getting a FREE online case evaluation now.