Ride-hailing services are very popular throughout the country, especially in large cities. People like the convenience of being able to summon a car from an app and to see information about the driver beforehand.
However, accidents involving ride-hailing services do happen. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that these services have actually increased the incidence of fatal car accidents nationwide. Here are some factors that contribute to ride-hailing accidents.
Proponents of ride-hailing frequently argue that it makes streets safer by taking drunk drivers off the road. In other words, it increases the “quality” of drivers. On the other hand, some researchers argue that ride-hailing services increase the probability of traffic accidents by putting more drivers on the road. The theory is that this quantity effect cancels out any advantage gained by the “quality.”
Furthermore, there is also evidence to suggest that ride-hailing services also decrease driver “quality” by distracting them with the smartphone apps used to alert them to pickup notifications. In 2017 a woman in Detroit sustained serious injuries to the spinal cord and brain as a ride-hailing passenger. The driver had both Uber and Lyft apps open when he rear-ended a tractor-trailer at 70 miles per hour, allegedly because the apps distracted him.
Ride-hailing companies insure their drivers for up to $1 million when they have passengers or are driving to pick them up. However, if the driver is on the clock but does not have a passenger, coverage amounts are less.