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Is Uber Safe for Our Kids?

Our Kids and the Safety of Uber and Lyft

In theory, ridesharing should be safe for kids. Millions of people bring their children along for Uber and Lyft rides thinking it’s just as safe as riding in a personal vehicle. But is it?

When you take a closer look, there are certain safety issues that might make you question the safety of ridesharing for kids. There are many reasons it might not be so safe after all.

Ridesharing Policy vs. Real Life

There’s often a difference between the ridesharing companies’ official rules and what really happens out on the roads. Some Uber drivers say the company’s compensation structure penalizes them for making safe choices.

For example, driving infants without car seats is forbidden in the official policies of both Uber and Lyft. The companies require parents to bring car seats for children in accordance with the law. But if there’s no car seat in sight, the driver might allow it to avoid losing money.

In addition, both companies forbid drivers from transporting children who are alone. However, rideshare drivers are faced with situations where declining to drive unaccompanied minors impacts their income.

Suppose someone arranges an Uber ride as if they’ll be the passenger. But when the Uber driver arrives, they put a teenager into the car alone. At this point, the Uber driver already spent time going to the location and knows they have a paid fare, so it’s difficult to reject the ride.

In one highly-publicized news story, a 12-year-old girl downloaded the Uber app herself and called an Uber in the middle of the night while her parents slept. An Uber driver accepted the ride and took her to a parking garage, where she committed suicide. An investigation found that the driver never requested ID and Uber claimed they didn’t know about the incident.

Drinking and Driving Among Rideshare Drivers

Consider this: Your child could be in the car with a drunk rideshare driver. A California Public Utilities investigation found more than 150 reports of drunk Uber drivers while Uber investigated only 21 of these claims. Uber ultimately paid a $1.1 million fine over the issue.

There’s no good way to ensure you and your child aren’t in the car with a drunk driver. You might not even know a rideshare driver is drunk until they drive erratically or have an accident.

New Dangers From Self-Driving Ubers

Uber’s self-driving cars are also bringing new risks to the road. A New York Times report showed that despite technological innovations, Uber's self-driving vehicles still required intervention from the human driver once every 13 miles. Hopefully, the driver is paying attention.

Uber says they’re working on tech upgrades that improve driveability and safety. But in the meantime, are your kids safe around autonomous vehicles? It’s hard to say.

In a statement to the media, an Uber spokesperson said, “Our testing area will be limited in scope to start. But we look forward to scaling up our efforts in the months ahead and learning from the difficult but informational road conditions that the Bay Area has to offer."

Making Claims Against Distracted Rideshare Drivers

Distracted driving has also become a big issue. Uber and Lyft drivers don’t always pay close attention to the road, especially when their rideshare app is distracting them.

In the Uber accident that killed 49-year old Elaine Herzberg, the driver was watching TV on a smartphone and apparently assumed Uber’s self-driving technology would prevent anything from going wrong. But the car plowed straight into Herzberg, who was crossing the street.

You or your child could be injured as a passenger, driver, or pedestrian in a rideshare crash. What happens next will depend on a variety of factors.

  • Your role in the accident
  • Whether the driver was in the “active period” for rideshare driving
  • What type of insurance will apply
  • How other drivers may have been involved

Here in California, rideshare companies are required to hold $1 million in insurance to cover their drivers’ active driving periods. Uber’s insurance partner program offers driver coverage with major insurance carriers but coverage isn’t always guaranteed.

If the driver is not actively using the app and isn’t working for the rideshare company, the driver’s personal insurance coverage applies. You may need to pursue their auto insurance company.

When the driver is working but not actively transporting a passenger, Uber maintains third-party liability coverage (if personal auto insurance doesn’t apply) including $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.

When a driver is actively picking up or driving passengers, Uber has $1 million in third-party liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured bodily injury coverage, contingent comprehensive and collision coverage, and up to the cash value of the car with a $1,000 deductible.

Lyft insurance has similar rules, but with a few distinct differences. Talk to a rideshare accident attorney about how insurance applies in your specific situation.

After an Uber Accident With Your Child, You May Have a Claim

Was your child injured in a rideshare accident? You can seek compensation for your child’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and perhaps other costs like your lost wages.

Of course, Uber and Lyft - along with their insurance companies - will likely try to minimize their responsibility for paying your claim. Don’t be fooled. The team at Sally Morin Law can help you hold Uber accountable and maximize your compensation.

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.

We Handle Your Car Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After a motor vehicle accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of traffic law, including injuries that arise from Uber accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details. We truly care about the people of California.

If you or your child has suffered serious injury due to an Uber accident or Lyft accident, get a FREE, no-risk evaluation of your case online NOW.

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