Is Hailing a Cab Safer than Hiring Uber or Lyft?
More and more people are turning to their smartphones to hire an Uber or Lyft driver instead of looking around for a cab to flag down. However, though Uber and Lyft have exploded in popularity in recent years, negative headlines have impacted both companies. Drivers for both Lyft and Uber have been accused of assault, and one Pennsylvania woman was surprised when an imposter pretended to be her Uber driver and did not take her to the address she requested. Fortunately, she was not harmed.
These incidents lead many to ask: are ride-sharing services safe? Are “old-fashioned” taxicabs safer?
It is hard to tell, many police departments argue. In cases of assault, most police departments do not keep data as to where the attack occurred—meaning, they do not distinguish as to whether an attack occurred in a Lyft, in an Uber, or in a taxi.
The background check process
Taxi companies throughout the United States require all taxi drivers to be fingerprinted before they are hired. After potential drivers are fingerprinted, the prints are submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a level-two background check. The background check looks at both state and federal criminal histories. If a potential driver has a felony on his or her record, that person is not allowed to be hired as a taxi driver. Certain motor vehicle-related offenses that are not felonies may also bar a potential driver from employment.
In comparison, Uber and Lyft utilize online background checks, and until recently, their background checks only examined the most recent seven years. However, in light of recent accusations against drivers for both companies, more comprehensive screening that goes back decades has been used.
Another major difference between ride-sharing services and taxicab companies are the vehicles in which customers travel. Most states set the taxicab vehicle requirements, which all taxicab companies must meet. Taxicab companies are supposed to keep up with vehicle maintenance and repairs. In contrast, drivers for Uber and Lyft use their own vehicles, though the cars must generally meet certain standards. Still, maintenance and repairs are up to the ride-sharing drivers, not the ride-sharing companies.
Driver profiles and ratings
One perk that Lyft and Uber offer are driver ratings. When a customer’s ride comes to an end, the customer is able to rate the driver on a scale of 1 through 5. Drivers who get low ratings frequently are brought to the ride-sharing company’s attention so that action may be taken if necessary. However, no such system exists in the world of taxicabs, though complaints may certainly be filed against drivers if necessary.
With so many differences between taxicab companies and ride-sharing services, it is hard to outright proclaim that one service is safer than the other. Uber and Lyft certainly have some advantages over taxicab companies, and taxicab companies offer perks that ride-sharing services do not. However, by understanding the limitations of both services, customers are able to make an informed decision about which one they feel safest using.
If you have been injured by a taxicab or Uber or Lyft driver, contact our office today
At Leonard Legal Group, we have held hired drivers of all types accountable for the injuries they cause, ranging from motor vehicle accidents to sexual assaults. To schedule a free consultation with our New Jersey legal team, call anytime, day or night, 973-984-1414 or contact us online.