Man holding a phone that has an open rideshare app

Do Uber Drivers Make the Roads Less Safe?

How Common Are Uber Accidents?

On July 14, 2015, NBC News reported that Uber reached a tentative settlement in a wrongful death suit that was brought by the family of a 6-year-old girl who died in San Francisco. The girl was walking in a crosswalk with her younger brother and mother when they were struck by a vehicle on New Year’s Eve in 2013.

The driver who hit the mother and her small children was logged on to the Uber X smartphone app, and available to provide rides as an Uber driver.

Uber is headquartered here in San Francisco; Uber is available in 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide. With the Uber mobile app, consumers use their smartphones to submit trip requests, which are then routed to Uber drivers who are independent contractors that use their personal vehicles for rides.

Is it Safe to Use Uber?

The death of the 6-year-old girl raises legitimate questions about the safety of using Uber’s services, and more importantly, the qualifications of their drivers.

Is it safe having Uber fleets spending so much time on the road making pickups and drop-offs while not necessarily being trained professional drivers, and not subject to the same safety regulations as licensed cab drivers?

Uber drivers are less regulated than cab drivers and they are not subject to the same licensing and supervision that normal taxi drivers are. Who is to say that they aren’t driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving while fatigued?

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)recommends that the public always hire a real San Francisco taxi. Some of the reasons for choosing a permitted, legal taxi in the Bay Area include:

  • The vehicles are more likely to be safe, and they all undergo routine safety and meter inspections.
  • All San Francisco taxi drivers undergo extensive training and are subject to background checks.
  • You deal with insured operators. Should something go wrong, you have proper legal recourse.
  • You are supporting local taxi drivers who invested considerable time and money into acquiring the right to drive a taxicab.

When Uber drivers are enticed by turning their cars into “money machines” and told that they won’t have an office, or a boss, could this practice be making our roads less safe?

Uber Accident Statistics

Uber released a U.S. Safety Report in December 2019. The report consists of the following collected data and compared it to the National Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS):

  • Internal driver crash reports
  • User crash reports
  • Insurance company crash reports

The report confirmed that 97 fatal crashes totaled 107 deaths between 2017 and 2018. A 2019 TechCrunch article reports that although the reported Uber accidents point to low rates, their report fails to include critical numbers, including non-fatal accidents. Non-fatal accidents can cause severe, life-threatening injuries.

Work With a Premier San Francisco Injury Firm

At Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn, we have extensive experience handling pedestrian and car accident claims. As one of San Francisco’s premier personal injury firms, our achievements include being named one of the 2021 “Best Law Firms” by the U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®.

Additionally, four of our attorneys have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2022. and we have a proven track record of success in obtaining justice for victims of pedestrian accidents throughout the Bay Area.