Preventing Injury When Using Ride-Hailing Services

We all remember when Uber and Lyft shook up the transportation industry, making it easier than ever to hail a ride in New York City. As new apps like Gett, Juno, and VIA emerge, it’s a good idea to take some time to learn about how to prevent serious injuries when using ride-hailing apps.

Important Safety Considerations:

The vetting process for drivers varies based on service. We’d all like to think when we pay for a car service we’re in the hands an experienced driver, but several ride-hailing services have been criticized for their lax vetting processes.

Some drivers will put profit over safety. One example being Uber’s surge pricing during inclement weather. A financially motivated driver may opt to drive during dangerous weather, even though he/she doesn’t have the skillset to do so. Because the odds of being involved in a car crash during winter storms increases, riders should carefully consider whether or not travel is necessary.

It’s also important to keep in mind your driver may not be familiar with local roads, an upstate New York driver may find themselves attempting to navigate congested Bronx County streets or areas that can be challenging to drive in.

Drivers may inadvertently put passengers at risk.  Many personal injury experts believe livery car drivers are more likely to engage in certain dangerous driving behaviors, like driving distracted and driving drowsy. The nature of their work (long hours, and the need to promptly respond to potential riders) increases the likelihood that a driver will become distracted and/or drowsy behind the wheel. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is a serious issue, “NHTSA estimates that in 2015, over 72,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. These crashes led to 41,000 injuries and more than 800 deaths.” – NHTSA.

The group also sites distracted driving as a major safety issue, “In 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed. 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015.”

What to do if you feel unsafe when using a ride-hailing app:

Keep loved ones in the loop. Many of the apps mentioned above include a feature that allows you to share your status with friends/family.

Ask for emergency assistance. Some apps offer emergency assistance at the tap of a button, whereas others do not. Familiarize yourself with the app you’re using so that in the event of a car crash or emergency event you know the easiest and quickest way to alert authorities. 

Listen to your gut. As mentioned above the vetting service for drivers and their vehicles varies. If something about the vehicle or driver you’re in makes you feel as if your safety is in jeopardy call 911.

Other considerations:

Are you riding in the back seat? You should be. Countless studies of car crash-related fatalities show the back seat is the safest place to avoid serious injury and death.

Buckle up! According to NSTSA, in 2016, seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,668 lives. Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash.

What to do if you’ve been injured in a crash:

We know that ride-sharing apps are extremely popular in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and throughout most of New York and New Jersey. We also know that ride-hailing app passengers injured in crashes are often unsure of what their rights are. We have a dedicated group of attorneys prepared to assist injured individual and their families following a crash. Click here to contact us today.

Dear friends and clients,

In furtherance of our firms culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can. 

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP