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Rideshare Drivers and the Inherent Distractions of Their Jobs

RideshareCar

We’ve all heard about the risks of distracted driving—drivers looking at phones, or screens inside their car, instead of looking at the roads. But there is one class of driver that may inherently be drawn to being distracted, as part of their jobs: rideshare drivers.

Drivers of Uber, Lyft, or similar companies, face unique challenges that make them less likely to be focusing on the road in front of them.

New Roads and Routes

One factor is the simple familiarity, or lack thereof, of roadways. Rideshare drivers can and are asked to drive almost anywhere, at any time. That may include routes and neighborhoods that they are not familiar with. That unfamiliarity can lead to looking at maps, or not being able to anticipate traffic patterns.

Looking at Apps and Passengers

Making matters worse, rideshare drivers are heavily dependent on their rideshare apps. These apps tell them things like whether a potential ride is nearby.

Because most rides are “first come first served” for drivers, the motivation is for drivers to be constantly looking at their phones or screens, and when a new ride appears, it encourages drivers to stop paying attention to what they are doing on the road, and accept (or take) the job or passenger. New rides (or requests for them by passengers) can pop up anywhere, at any time. When a rideshare driver takes his or her eyes off the screen, he risks losing a ride, and thus money.

And it’s not just accepting the passenger that the driver needs to worry about. The driver also has to see where the passenger is, where the passenger wants to go, and whether it is practical to accept that passenger based on where the driver is—and do it all quickly enough to accept the passenger if the driver wants to, without someone else taking that job.

While doing all this, the driver isn’t just looking at a screen, which would be bad enough. Rather, the driver needs to interact with the app, accepting jobs or sending messages to potential accepted passengers.

The Passengers Inside

While all this is going on, if the rideshare driver has people in the car, those people may be conversing with the driver. Drivers are rated by passengers, and thus, engaging in meaningful conversation is important to rideshare drivers. So the driver also is talking, and making conversation, while also being distracted by all of these things.

Lawsuits Related to Distractions

Many rideshare companies have gotten in trouble, and have been sued, because their interface and the way drivers accept jobs, is an invitation to accidents and distractions. The lawsuits have both been against the rideshare companies, and some lawsuits have even been product liability lawsuits against the apps themselves, saying that they are designed in a way that unnecessarily and excessively distracts drivers.

Were you injured by, or while in, a rideshare like Uber or Lyft? Contact the Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at Cameron Law today at 702-745-4545.

Sources:

uber.com/newsroom/how-to-avoid-distractions-on-the-road/

safetrec.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/cscrsfinalreport_riyayoung.pdf

nyc.streetsblog.org/2015/03/20/crash-victim-lawsuit-app-use-by-uber-drivers-is-negligent-and-illegal/

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