How Safe Are You in a Ride Share Vehicle?
Privacy and Secret Recordings
Ride share companies boast about how accessible they are and the cost but these companies have a darker side that rarely hits the media. These incidents range from car accidents to customer safety being compromised by the drivers. The stories we see on the news tend to only be of big name celebrities or involve the death of someone. Recently in the news several NHL hockey players were traveling in an Uber that had a dash camera that recorded both video and audio inside the vehicle. The players we talking with the driver and began badmouthing one of the teams coaches. They were never made aware that they were being recorded or that video footage would be sold to a local news outlet.
After reading a recent article by The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio it’s easy to see why some drivers have resorted to compromising customers’ expected privacy. This article explains how much current drivers are making on average and how many hours they need to drive to make that much money. Drivers that started driving for ride share companies to supplement their income are now needing to find additional ways to supplement their income even more just to stay afloat.
How much privacy do you expect in an Uber?
Accidents Happen but Payouts Rarely Do
If you are in a car accident while riding in an Uber or other ride share vehicle and your driver is at fault what can you expect for compensation? Well, thanks to Uber and other ride share companies and their long list of lawyers on retainer you can expect little to nothing even if you were injured. This is because they have the money and research teams in place for just that type of incident. By only requiring drivers to carry basic local insurance to drive for them, the driver’s personal insurance won’t even cover the accident. Personal insurance does not have to cover an accident if the driver is using the vehicle for commercial purposes such as rideshare. Many major insurance companies are moving to provide a hybrid insurance specially for rideshare and gig drivers but the cost is higher and not a requirement for drivers to have that type of insurance through the rideshare companies.
The lawyers and insurance companies for ride share companies are invested in not paying out on claims if they don’t have to. If your driver is doing anything wrong or they can make you out to be a “distraction” for the driver, they won’t pay out. Other transportation vehicles such as taxis and limos are required by law to have a minimum (state set) commercial insurance that covers the vehicle and driver at all times in that vehicle not just when a customer is in the vehicle or the vehicle has been “hired.”
Assaults and Illegal Activities on the DL
Assaults happen to both parties and no one bats an eye. You file a complaint with the company, you notify local police and maybe the one that assaulted you will be arrested but that’s about it. Ride share companies have managed to keep assaults out of the media for the most part but some stories do slip through the cracks. As mentioned before, these companies have armies of lawyers and will do anything to keep you quiet. Many times they look into your life on social media and use an equation to decide how much they could offer you to get you to sign a nondisclosure document. By signing it you would be in breach of a contract and if it’s been filed with a court of law you could be jailed for contempt.
How do these things happen? Simple, many ride share companies are only ever looking for driving records and felony crimes. Many criminal chargers are even overlooked when contracting with new drivers because they view that driver as low risk to offend again. What isn’t accounted for are the original charges and plea deals. A person who is arrested for attempted murder could plea down to an assault charge if the cooperate with local law enforcement and when a background check is ran the company sees an assault charge not that the person tried to kill someone. Unsuccessful rape attempts often can plea down to lesser charge and no one would know.
Ride share companies can’t monitor what happens in a driver’s vehicle and they have no desire to either. Proof of illegal activities in their drivers’ vehicles could permanently damage the reputation of the companies. It becomes a “he said, she said” fight and their lawyers are ready for it.
So how safe are you? With privacy and safety on the line should these companies be held responsible?