Popular ride-hailing app, Uber, has gained tons of popularity in the nine years it’s been around. It’s simple after all: you tap a button, and someone comes to drive you to your destination. But issues have arisen that cause people to ask one common question: is Uber safe to use?
Is Uber Safe to Use? Numbers Don’t Lie
The main reason people ask, “Is Uber safe to use?” is because of the company’s background check system for new drivers. According to a peer-reviewed study conducted by law enforcement experts, the name-based background checks Uber performs are up to 43 times more likely to have errors than fingerprint-based checks.
Uber acknowledges this, yet takes no steps to rectify the situation. For example, in 2016 in the city of Austin, Texas, a piece of legislation that would allow Uber to continue its lax background check process was shot down by voters. Rather than complying with the law and introducing fingerprint-based background checks, Uber packed up and left the city.
Representatives for Uber have argued that fingerprints took too long to process, which would slow down their hiring system. Clearly, they’re focused on profit, not the safety of the communities in which it operates.
Who’s Driving You, an initiative that seeks to highlight the ways in which Uber undercuts the safety of the for-hire vehicle industry, has been compiling data on Uber and other ride-hailing app, Lyft, since approximately 2013.
They’ve recorded a staggering 223 instances of alleged sexual assault committed by Uber and Lyft drivers. And though that number is already much too high for comfort, it doesn’t factor in the survivors of assault who didn’t report the incident to police, which is estimated to be around 70 percent.
According to Who’s Driving You, there have been 23 fatalities at the hands of Uber since 2013. Perhaps the scariest part of these fatal accidents is that passengers and their families have virtually zero legal recourse. This is also true for nonfatal accidents.
Uber’s terms and conditions essentially shift responsibility completely onto passengers, making them almost invulnerable to lawsuits.
So the next time you need a ride, stop and ask yourself “is Uber safe to use?” Consider calling a traditional taxi instead, so you’ll at least know what you’re getting yourself into.