Rideshare services like Uber make life easier, and in some cases, they make the road a safer place by reducing the number of drunk drivers. With Uber operating in more than 60 countries and hundreds of cities, ridesharing companies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But there are hidden dangers to taking an Uber.
Accidents: Your Driver May be Overworked and Tired
Uber drivers may work long hours to reach their financial goals, or they may drive after they leave their full-time job. Drowsy driving is a serious concern among rideshare drivers.
A tired driver greatly increases your risk of getting into an accident. An estimated 100,000 car accidents are related to driver fatigue each year.
Lack of sleep, prescription medications, sleep disorders and a number of other factors can make drivers drowsy.
In general, you're at a greater risk of getting into an accident when taking an Uber compared to a taxi driver. Most states and cities have requirements that cab drivers must meet, including driver training, hygiene and wellness checks, and FBI background checks.
With Uber and Lyft, drivers simply need a valid license and a working car.
Assault: Cases of Physical and Sexual Assault are Rising
We’re seeing more reports of rideshare drivers committing physical and sexual assault. Most assaults have been committed by male drivers against female passengers, but there are also reports of physical attacks against male passengers.
Male passengers have reported being struck with physical objects, fistfights and unprovoked attacks. Female passengers have reported being the victim of inappropriate language, sexual harassment, unwanted touching and rape.
Uber reportedly has a history of hiring drivers with criminal records. They’ve been accused of failing to perform appropriate background checks on drivers, and they often fail to monitor drivers for inappropriate conduct after being hired. The company says it is taking measures to improve background checks, but there is still concern of assault.
And when cases of assault do occur, the company can deny liability because drivers are considered independent contractors.
Injury or Death: Some Imposters are Posing as Uber Drivers
Is your driver really an Uber driver? There have been several reports of imposters posing as Uber drivers. These imposters lure victims into their vehicles, and then allegedly commit crimes, such as robberies, kidnappings, assault, rape and even murder.
Uber has taken steps to prevent these types of incidents. The company’s improved safety measures include driver recognition apps that include the car’s badge number and driver photo.
Uber can be a convenient way to get to your destination, and in truth, these dangers may also apply to taxi companies. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep your safety in mind when using a rideshare service. Always check the driver’s rating, and confirm the name of the driver as well as the make of the vehicle before getting into your ride. Also, share the trip details with your friends and family. They can track your trip without even having to download the app. And you may want to avoid sitting in the front seat, as you’ll be at greater risk of aggressive or unwanted behavior.