Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft provide their customers with tremendous value and convenience. Rideshare transportation is much more convenient than public transit and equally as cost-effective as taking a taxi. One of the most glaring differences between a taxi and an Uber or Lyft is the comfort of a rideshare vehicle. There are no plastic seats, no plastic screen separating the front and back seats, and personalized attention from the rideshare driver. There is an attendant risk with using a rideshare app for transportation because the user has no way of knowing the safety of the rideshare vehicle.
Uber and Lyft have standards for their independent contractors’ vehicles. The vehicles can be no older than 15 years, but they prefer ten years and younger. Also, a certified Uber or Lyft trainer may examine a vehicle before the rideshare driver starts working for the company to view the cleanliness of the vehicle and make sure that there are working doors, seatbelts, and other safety items. They are not qualified, automotive technicians. Consequently, Uber and Lyft rely on their “certified” examiner to approve the vehicle for use. Once added to their fleet, Uber and Lyft do not continuously examine cars for safety compliance. Instead, contractual terms obligate the driver to maintain the car, keep it insured, registered, and comply with safety inspection regulations for the state in which the vehicle is registered.
Do You Know if Your Uber or Lyft Vehicle is Safe? There is no contractual obligation to comply with safety recalls announced for vehicles being used by rideshare drivers. A recent analysis completed by Consumer Reports showed that rideshare drivers generally do not comply with the recall announcements for their cars. Therefore, a person using a rideshare ride can have no confidence that the driver is operating a car that is safe to drive. The car might have defective Takata airbags or other safety defects that could kill or injure a rideshare passenger.
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