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.
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.