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Auto Accidents and Unsafe Uber Drivers

Casey Woodruff

undefinedFor Chicago residents, Uber and other ride-sharing services have revolutionized short-distance travel throughout the city. Whether you are catching a ride home at the end of a weekend night or are requesting an Uber ride to or from Chicago’s O’Hare or Midway airports, most users agree that ride-sharing companies have made in-town travel easier and more affordable. Yet what happens when an Uber driver gets into a serious car accident? Who is at fault for the collision, and who can be held liable for a passenger’s injuries? According to an article in Fortune, Uber accidents, unfortunately, are not all that uncommon.

Uber Accidents Happen More Often Than You Might Think

As the Fortune article explains, Uber accidents—even minor fender-benders—actually happen more often than many customers would expect. And it is not only passengers who could be at risk.  Drivers in other vehicles who are struck by Uber drivers could also end up with significant damage to their vehicles and serious personal injuries. Who pays for damages in these instances?

Since 2013, Uber has provided insurance coverage for its UberX drivers, or those who do not have commercial driver’s licenses or commercial insurance. When the company first began providing this insurance to UberX drivers, it only insured drivers when they had a passenger in the backseat of the car. For other drivers on the road who could be involved in an accident with a distracted Uber driver, for example, this could be very problematic. Since then, Uber has expanded its insurance coverage to drivers while they are on duty, but a report in Forbes notes that there are still gaps in insurance coverage.

Making Uber and Other Ride-Sharing Services Safer 

Rather than focusing on issues of liability and compensation for injuries sustained in Uber accidents, customers might be better served by initiatives that aim to make Uber safer. What can the company do to prevent serious auto accidents? According to a recent article in PCMag, one effective method of accident prevention involves tracking unsafe Uber drivers. As that article explains, Uber has been making use of a new tool that is tied to Uber drivers’ smartphones. How does it work? By “using the GPS, accelerometer, and gyroscope inside the phones provided to Uber drivers, Uber can track the speed and motion of their cars pretty easily.”

In addition to measuring speed, the software can also alert the company if the phone is not properly docked—a signal that the Uber driver could be engaged in a behavior linked to distracted driving (such as handheld talking or texting). The software can also measure the amount of time that a driver has been on the road to determine when the driver needs a break. While distracted driving can lead to severe accidents, fatigued or drowsy driving can also result in a preventable crash.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Chicago 

Were you recently injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence? If you have questions about filing a traffic collision claim, an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer can help with your case. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans today to learn more about our services.

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