Dangerous Uber Drivers: Who’s Really Behind the Wheel?

Dangerous Uber Drivers: Who’s Really Behind the Wheel?

Ever wonder what it takes to become an Uber driver? It’s not as much as you think. There are potentially 900,000 active Uber drivers transporting riders around the country every day, and a large number of them could be unqualified. Here’s what riders need to be aware of before they hail their next Uber ride.  

Lack of Qualifications  

Uber boasts that its service has a job for everyone. The company claims on their website that “Most folks are eligible to drive on the Uber platform,” and this is by far one of the biggest concerns.  

According to Uber’s Minimum Driver Requirements, these are the current qualifications to become a driver:  

  • Meet the minimum age to drive in your city 
  • Have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the US (3 years if you are under 23 years old) 
  • Have a valid US driver’s license 
  • Use an eligible 4-door vehicle 

As proof of these qualifications, Uber requires drivers to include a copy of their driver’s license, proof of residency, proof of vehicle insurance, and a photo for their driver profile. Finally, the company then asks aspiring drivers to submit information to check their driving record and criminal history before they are able to start.  

The problem with Uber’s qualifications is that these minimum requirements do not necessarily constitute a safe driver. Some of the most concerning factors include:  

  • Inexperienced Drivers: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the first 18 months a driver has their license, regardless of age, is the most dangerous. Drivers between the ages of 16 to 19 are the most at risk for accidents, known for underestimating road dangers and falling victim to more distractions. Yet, Uber only requires that its drivers have at least one year of licensed driving experience or three years if they are under the age of 23. This allows two of the most inexperienced groups of drivers in the country to be transporting hundreds of people every week.  
  •  No Driving Tests: Uber does not require its drivers to go through any training or testing to evaluate their knowledge of road safety. Drivers who not have a record of reckless driving can still demonstrate concerning and aggressive behaviors behind the wheel. The lack of traffic violations or points on their license could just mean they are a little better at not getting caught.  
  • Busy Roads: In metropolitan areas such as New York City, congested and busy streets can pose imminent dangers to even the most experienced drivers. Uber drivers are expected to pick up and drop off riders amid thousands of other vehicles, passengers, bicycles, pedestrians, and activities surrounding them. If they are not qualified to drive, the risk of getting into an accident and causing injuries to others drastically increases.  
  • Unsafe Vehicles: The Uber app requires a driver to operate a vehicle no more than 10 years old, with four-door accessibility. What they do not ask for is to inspect the car that a driver is using. It’s not enough to require a current registration and proof of insurance to ensure that a car is in good condition. These vehicles can easily lack proper maintenance or safety features which could lead to preventable accidents.  
  • Fraud: Uber does not interview drivers or inspect their vehicles as other companies may do when hiring employees. All driver information is submitted is through an online forum. These documents can be falsified and altered to meet the requirements needed to drive. It may also allow people to pretend to be another driver if the facial profile is similar enough to pass.  

Additionally, the minimal qualifications to become an Uber driver do not assess the overall safety of a person or possible risk of criminal intent. Thousands of Uber passengers in the last few years have filed claims against the company for instances of physical abuse, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. General interview questions regarding conflict management, or character references, may have led to the denial of some of these individuals passing as drivers. But with all Uber functions being completed online, these risky drivers are allowed to pass.  

A History of Reckless Screenings  

When the Uber app first came out, almost anyone could become a driver. If you were capable of signing up for the app, had a license, owned a car, you were immediately entrusted with the lives of the millions of potential users who could ask for a ride.  

In 2017, Uber came under fire by multiple states for hiring thousands of drivers who did not meet the standard requirements for driving, or who possessed criminal and felony backgrounds. Several drivers had a history of concerning offenses, including sexual abuse, substance use, and violent behaviors. Others had racked up years of charges and violations for acts of reckless driving.  

After slightly improving their screening methods, Uber reported in 2018 that at least 40,000 drivers nationwide had been let go for no longer qualifying to drive through the app. However, safety advocates have still found these driving qualifications to come up short, as passengers continue to report injuries and accidents committed at the hands of dangerous drivers.  

New York City and Long Island Car Uber Accident Attorneys  

Uber riders are in control of which ride they choose, but they can’t predict the type of driver who is behind the wheel. If you or a loved one has been injured in an Uber accident, our team at Siler & Ingber is here to help. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome.  

Our Uber accident attorneys at the law firm of Siler & Ingber, have over 20 years of experience serving clients across New York City and Long Island. We protect your rights by maximizing recovery and securing the financial support our clients need to succeed on their road to recovery. Our winning attorneys know how to navigate through the claim process using past experience as insurance defense attorneys. We are not afraid to fight and are fully prepared to take your case to trial to get a justified verdict over settling for less.  

Contact us today at 1-877-529-4343, or schedule an appointment online anytime. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. 

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