When thinking about what service to use when you need a ride, you may automatically think of sending for a driver with your Uber or Lyft app before you’d think about calling for a cab. Rideshare services have made it easy to get a ride and get to where you need to be anytime and almost anywhere.
But just how safe are these rideshare services? It’s likely you’ve heard multiple news reports of accidents and assaults over the past few years, which is why it’s a good idea to evaluate your options when it comes to rideshare services versus other transportation industries.
Taxi drivers and rideshare drivers are hired differently. Taxi drivers are employees. They have to go through traditional interview processes, and their employers are generally responsible for their behavior. Rideshare operators, however, are independent contractors. The hiring process is different and they, unlike cabs, have the option to refuse pickups.
In terms of safety, this means that taxi drivers are more thoroughly examined prior to hire, which means it’s likely those drivers will be safe to ride with. While rideshare services have background checks completed, which we’ll get into in the next section, there have been instances where drivers with traffic violation records or even felonies have been found operating Ubers or Lyfts.
Background Checks and Records
Prior to entering services, drivers for both types of transportation service must complete a background check. There are differences in how the checks are completed and what conviction records can look like.
The background checks and requirements for taxi drivers vary between major cities. All drivers must be free of felony convictions. Some drivers must also not have any DUIs on their records. In many situations, fingerprinting is required; and some cities require drivers meet specific health standards, take a course on defensive driving, and watch a video on sex trafficking. Taxi drivers, once hired, will operate a company vehicle while picking up and dropping off passengers.
With rideshare services, new drivers also must undergo a background check; however, these are often done through third party companies. Uber and Lyft drivers are required to use their own vehicles to transport passengers. They must have their vehicles inspected prior to entering service, to ensure it meets the companies required standards, as well as state requirements.
Handling Complaints and Resolutions
Incidents involving drivers can happen with both rideshare and taxi services. Some common incidents involve drivers taking travelers on longer routes to increase their fares, attempting to accept illegal unmetered rides, or passengers losing personal items to drivers. Less common, but more extreme incidents involve assaults and crashes.
In the event of an incident with a taxi company, a report can be sent directly to the local taxi authority. The local police departments can also be made aware, depending on the seriousness of the incident. In some instances, the taxi authority may refund the trip or reprimand the driver and suspend them for a period of time.
When you use a rideshare service, you can file your complaint online or report online. Contacting local law enforcement may also be required. It’s likely Uber or Lyft will investigate your report and take action from there.
Insurance Requirements and Liability
According to rideshare companies, the independent contractors that drive for them are covered under their own individual insurance plans. In addition to that, while operating the app and driving to pick up or drop off a passenger, the drivers are covered under the company’s policy. Taxi drivers, however, are generally only covered by their state’s minimum car insurance requirement.
If you’re in an accident with an Uber or Lyft, it’s likely you’ll be dealing with the driver’s insurance company and then the rideshare company. These cases can be difficult, as the companies are likely to try to minimize your settlement. If an accident occurs with a cab, you’ll be dealing with their insurance company; however, the maximum settlement you could receive might be less depending on the policy.
As you can see, it’s difficult to determine whether or not taxis are actually safer than Uber or Lyft; however, there are more complex legal issues associated with the rideshare services because of the independent contractor factor and the insurance policies.
If you’ve been in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft vehicle, our nationwide rideshare accident lawyers are here for you. Cases like this can be incredibly complex; however, we have the experience needed to ensure you receive justice and compensation for what you’ve been through. To learn more, get in touch with us today.