Uber Accident in San Jose? Chances Are it Was Caused by Distracted Driving.
The typical Uber accident in San Jose is the result of distracted driving. In fact, Uber drivers are almost required to be distracted!
Oddly enough, Uber mandates that drivers use their phones. Drivers must accept rides through the Uber app, interact courteously with passengers, and react to the constant stream of notifications Uber sends. It’s all a huge distraction that takes their eyes off the road.
Uber advocates say ridesharing is a wonderful and cost-effective alternative to traditional taxi cabs and car ownership. But when it comes to distracted driving, there are some disturbing issues involved:
- Uber drivers have no professional training or certification
- Uber’s rules for drivers tacitly encourage distracted driving
- Uber fights California safety legislation
- Uber tries to limit its accident liability at the expense of victims
- Investigations have shown Uber ignores reports of drunk drivers
- New driverless Ubers allow human drivers to stay distracted
Uber drivers are just average people, not professional drivers, and Uber doesn’t hold them to the same standards as a taxi company has for its drivers. Uber treats its drivers as a commodity, although California’s new gig work law calls them “presumed employees.”
The entire business model at Uber revolves around keeping the company’s costs low and getting the maximum number of rider fares. This doesn’t put passenger and driver safety as a priority.
Perhaps the most troubling notion is that Uber’s way of doing business may outright encourage distracted driving, a leading cause of road deaths and injuries. It’s certainly a common cause of many accidents in San Jose.
Uber Drivers are Distracted by Apps, Riders, and More
Distracted driving is one of the main causes of car crashes nationwide. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving contributes to more than 2,800 deaths per year, plus tens of thousands of non-fatal injuries.
And what does the NHTSA say is the biggest driver distraction? Cellphones. Cellphones are often a primary cause of fatal distraction on roadways in California. The NHTSA estimates that over 660,000 drivers on American roadways use their cellphones in some capacity while behind the wheel.
Uber drivers face intense pressure to look at their cellphones. Multiple studies have found that simply reading a text takes the driver’s eyes off the road for 4 to 5 seconds. Traveling at 55 mph, a car moves nearly the length of a football field in that time - plenty of time for a pedestrian to step into a crosswalk, a child to stumble into the roadway, or a car to slam on its brakes.
Uber drivers must use their phones to:
- Notify nearby passengers they’re available
- Accept new paying fares
- Navigate to the passenger pickup location
- Navigate to the drop off destination
- Accept payment for the ride
- Rate their passengers
- Check for various Uber messages, rewards, and incentives
The official Uber safety policy is that the company doesn’t condone cellphone use while the driver is on the road. But while that sounds nice, it conflicts with how Uber drivers are supposed to use the Uber app to make their daily income.
Watch your Uber driver and see how many times they take their eyes off the road. Some drivers glance at their phones constantly. Some have road rage and get absorbed in conflicts with other drivers. Some are even drunk or on drugs.
Uber banned one of its drivers in San Jose after an anonymous tipster sent the company a creepy recording showing the driver’s distraction. He was commenting on female pedestrians, saying things like, “Half the work is already done, man. She's isolated and she's drunk.”
Pedestrians at Risk for an Uber Accident in San Jose
As bad as an Uber accident in San Jose can be for passengers, a pedestrian accident can be even worse. Pedestrians suffer severe bodily injuries from cars and a busy Uber driver might not even notice!
Despite all of the money San Jose is dumping into pedestrian safety, Uber drivers are still hitting and killing pedestrians. We’ve seen some scary situations in San Jose.
In one example, an Uber driver was rushing to pick up a passenger and struck a man crossing the Tully Road intersection near Senter Road in San Jose. The victim went to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and later died.
The Uber driver remained at the scene of the accident, but simply insisted it was the man’s fault for crossing the road. Was the Uber driver speeding? Was he driving distracted? Was he taking every necessary precaution? Those questions may never be answered.
How Insurance Works After a Distracted Driving Uber Accident
If an Uber driver hits you while driving distracted, or if you’re a passenger in an Uber accident, get ready for the company to resist paying for your injuries. Uber has a long history of trying to wriggle out of paying victims’ claims.
Although Uber requires its drivers to have auto insurance, there’s no guarantee the insurance will cover your claim. It’s usually arranged through one of the rideshare companies’ partner policies from Allstate, Progressive, Liberty Mutual, and many others.
The timing matters. Rideshare drivers are only on the clock at certain times. Which period was your Uber driver in when the accident occurred?
Period 1: The driver is offline or the app is off.
When the driver is not actively using the app and isn’t working, the driver’s personal insurance coverage applies. You’d need to pursue their auto insurance company, not the rideshare insurance.
Period 2: The driver is available or waiting for a ride request.
When the driver is working but not actively transporting a passenger, Uber maintains third-party liability coverage if personal auto insurance doesn’t apply. This includes $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
Period 3: The driver is en route to pick up riders or is actively driving a passenger.
This is the active period when a driver is en route or driving passengers. Uber insurance is $1 million in third-party liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, contingent comprehensive and collision coverage, and up to the cash value of the car with a $1,000 deductible.
Here’s the most important thing to remember: You don’t have to rely on Uber’s representatives. You can seek the help of an experienced San Jose Uber accident lawyer to demand the compensation you deserve after a distracted driving accident.
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 and distracted driving accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of San Jose and all of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.