Rideshares and Your Safety: Making Informed Choices

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  • Ridesharing services like those provided by Uber and Lyft have exploded in popularity in the past few years. Using these apps can be convenient for getting around the city, but it is important for customers to know the safety risks when they get into a rideshare vehicle.

    If you live in Toronto, you may be interested to know that the City amended its bylaws in 2016 to accommodate ridesharing apps in the city. One of the changes they made was to dispose of the requirement that vehicle-for-hire drivers take a mandatory 17-day training course.[1][2] That course included CPR and first aid training,[3] as well as special training for serving customers with disabilities. The responsibility for assuring that drivers have the know-how to keep passengers safe was placed squarely on the shoulders of the ridesharing corporations, who insist their drivers are not even their employees, but are rather independent contractors.[4] This is arguably a recipe for disaster.

    Indeed there is already evidence that ridesharing can present enormous safety risks for passengers. In 2018, a young man was tragically killed in an Uber when the driver failed to merge safely onto the highway.[5] His girlfriend was also injured. The driver had been working with Uber for only four days at the time of the incident. The victim’s family were left wondering if this catastrophe could have been avoided if Uber drivers were held to a higher standard of safety training prior to getting behind the wheel.

    Additionally, women may face unique threats to their safety when they use ridesharing. In the US, a woman has named Uber in a civil suit after she was sexually assaulted by one of their drivers.[6] These incidents are occurring in Canada as well – one Toronto Uber driver is currently facing trial for the alleged sexual assault of two passengers, on two separate occasions.[7] Uber’s response to incidents like these has been to roll out alerts which remind customers to ensure that they are getting into the correct vehicle.[8] App users can be forgiven for wondering if this is enough to keep them safe.

    Safety should be everyone’s top priority when it comes to travelling by car. As it currently stands, the law leaves ridesharing apps to their own devices when deciding whether drivers are safe enough to transport customers. So far, they appear to have fallen short of this mandate.

    At Jasmine Daya & Co., we have extensive experience litigating motor vehicle-related accidents on behalf of our clients. If you have been injured in a rideshare, contact our team of personal injury lawyers. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we will not be paid until you case has been resolved. Call us at 416-967-9100 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.