Ridesharing platforms such as Uber and Lyft are a new and large presence in Maryland, Virginia and across the nation, especially in large cities. Questions about rideshare safety, and their role in motor vehicle accidents, have grown with this industry.
Ridesharing is a safer option than driving while impaired or with a drunk or inexperienced driver. The United States had 1.17 traffic deaths per 100 million miles traveled in 2017. By comparison, Uber had roughly half the national average with a reported 0.57 fatalities per 100 million traveled.
Uber drivers, according to the company’s safety report for 2017 and 2018, were still involved in 97 fatal accidents that led to 107 deaths. Traveling by bus is the safest transportation mode with only .01 deadly accident per 100 million miles.
Rideshare companies impose safety standards on their drivers. According to Uber’s report, it disqualified over one million drivers and 76% of these prospective drivers were rejected because of their driving histories.
Uber’s fleet are newer comprised of vehicles with an average age of four years compared to the national vehicle age average of 10 years. Newer vehicles generally have more safety devices and less mechanical problems. Uber vehicles must also undergo a safety inspection of basic components such as tires, brakes and mirrors.
Rideshare drivers need a clean record. They must also have a license and insurance.
Some of these standards, however, need improved. For example, companies have a 21-year-old age minimum for drivers which eliminates the highest risk group of 16 to 20-year-old motorists. But drivers who are 21 to 25 years old are also a high-risk group. These drivers comprise 13% of drivers but are involved in more than 30% of fatal accidents.
Only one year of driving experience is required for rideshare companies. It takes more time to become a skilled driver, however, according to accident data.
While ridesharing may be a safer mode of transportation, riders and pedestrians are still suffering injuries. An attorney can help victims of a rideshare accident pursue their rights to compensation in settlement negotiations and in court.