Texting and driving CAN wait. But can it wait for drivers who make their living behind the wheel?
Taxi companies such as Uber, who, to make money, must respond to a pick up nearly instantly, without regard to safety and traffic violations. When a call comes in from Uber, a driver has 15 seconds to tap the phone to accept the fare. That can mean looking at the phone, seeing how far away the customer is and then making a decision. Failure to respond within 15 seconds means the fare goes to another driver. In some cities, including New York, failure to respond to several calls in a row can lead to Uber’s temporarily suspending a driver.
It’s clear there is a potential for danger when the phone because an essential means of transaction. The system is technically putting the drivers in a difficult situation: either respond or lose money/your job.
The makers of a similar system are considering implementing voice activated technology to make the program safer for taxi drivers and others on the road.
Uber provided a statement that the app “was designed with safety in mind,” and that drivers do not have to look at the device to accept a fare but can respond to the audible tone by touching anyplace on the screen.
This month, misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges were filed against an Uber driver, Syed Muzaffar, who hit and killed a 6-year-old girl in a San Francisco crosswalk last New Year’s Eve. It is a matter of dispute whether Mr. Muzaffar was using his Uber software at the time of incident. The maximum sentence he faces is one year in jail.
Source: NY Times