The ride-sharing model brought by Uber, among other ride-sharing companies, has indeed proved to be an efficient alternative to prevalent modes of transport. It has provided consumers with a chance to choose their ride given their need. However revolutionary, the model is causing some trouble in non-business aspects: traffic safety. The demand for an Uber accident lawyer in Los Angeles may seem far-fetched during Uber’s nascent years, but it has become a common reality now.
A Spike in the Number of Accidents
According to a study by researchers from the University of Chicago and Rice University, before ride-sharing companies arrived, car accidents across America were at its lowest. In 2010, only a year before ride-sharing services became available, traffic accidents dropped to nearly 33,000. It was the lowest since 1949. By the time Uber and other similar companies proliferated in major cities, the number of accidents started to rise again.
The researchers found that ride-sharing led to a two to three percent increase in traffic fatalities since 2011, about 1,100 deaths per year. Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the researchers regressed per vehicle miles traveled (VMT) with the accident rates in cities that were studied. VMT was found to have increased significantly by the time Uber kicked off in San Francisco in 2010. The trend was the same with its competitors and the cities they started to operate in. What they also realized is that the miles the drivers traveled between fares had only an average of 2.8 miles. With that short distance and the propensity to take more rides, the chances of getting into accidents are high.
On Congestion and Use of Public Transport
The results of the study only show that ride-sharing companies are causing some transport issues in cities. Findings of other similar researchers all point to two major effects of the model: increasing congestion in cities and decreasing the use of public transportation. With shorter rides between fares and the ensuing increase in the number of rides, Uber riders can potentially clog roads. With more consumers using their services, public transport becomes less attractive.
As a response, many cities are now putting a cap on ride-sharing in selected months. Choosing a month when traffic is historically worse is a good option. This solution has a good regulatory effect, but there is one growing concern regarding the ride-sharing model: the legal aspect.
Difficulties in Proving a Claim
Many victims of Uber drivers are having difficulty making their claims against the negligent driver. To make a claim viable, they have to prove the driver’s liability and the damages done. Proving negligence is the same as other car accident claims. But the real issue comes with which insurance should be applied. Is it the driver’s or the ride-sharing company’s?
Uber and other ride-sharing companies have already provided liability car insurance coverage for drivers. As such, an opportunity to hold these companies liable may not arise. However, one can still hold them financially responsible for the accident, provided their driver has been proven to have caused the accident.
Uber has dramatically changed the transport sector. But with its success business-wise comes a bigger responsibility to control their driver’s behavior. For victims of traffic accidents caused by an Uber driver, the legal battle is hard. Although Uber’s negligence on safety may be difficult to prove, being prepared to document evidence to strengthen any claim is the least that one can do.