Uber Releases Safety Report Revealing Car Accident and Assault Statistics

Car Accident

Millions of Americans rely on ride-sharing services — like those offered by Uber — to go places. More convenient and readily available than cabs, getting an Uber is as simple as a few taps on your phone. But although it is easy to use, there are some risks involved in taking an Uber — both for passengers and for others on the road. A car accident is very dangerous in life.

In early December, Uber released a safety report. The company noted that the report was the first of its kind. The report covers more than 2.3 billion trips in the United States between 2017 and 2018 and discloses data on topics such as vehicle fatalities, serious sexual assaults, and fatal physical assaults.

This report drew significant attention to the shocking number of sexual assault incidents that occurred in Ubers. This is particularly important given past reports of rape and other forms of sexual violence committed by Uber drivers against riders. In 2018 alone, there were 235 reported rapes and over 1,500 incidents of sexual assault.

Beyond these criminal acts, Uber’s report also disclosed statistics on motor vehicle fatalities. The report details 107 Uber-related fatalities, as well as the underlying causes. Significantly, the report does not list the total number of accidents that Uber drivers were involved in or crashes that involved injuries other than death.

The issues presented in Uber’s safety report are critical, not just for those who use the app to get a ride, but for anyone on the road. An inexperienced Uber driver — particularly one who is under pressure to pick up as many passengers as possible or who is distracted by rowdy passengers — may cause accidents that lead to serious or fatal injuries.

If you have been hurt in a crash involving an Uber, a Walnut Creek car accident attorney can work with you to get you the compensation that you deserve. While liability issues can often be complex in Uber accidents, a skilled lawyer can advocate for your rights.

The Details: Uber-Related Motor Vehicle Fatalities

We know that using an Uber is convenient — but is it safe?  According to the recently-released safety report from Uber, you are less likely to be in a fatal accident with an Uber driver than in a crash that doesn’t involve an Uber driver. These statistics do not mean that there are no dangers associated with riding in an Uber.

First, it is important to understand the terms used in the report. “Uber-related” fatal accidents are defined to include any type of crash where at least one driver was driving while using the Uber platform, and at least one person died within 30 days of the accident. These statistics do not include the time that drivers spend driving around between picking up rides or going from one destination to another to get a passenger — which potentially excludes a large number of accidents.

In 2017, there were 49 Uber-related fatalities. In 2018, that number increased to 58. This is a total of 107 deaths that occurred in 97 accidents.

According to Uber’s statistics, in 2017, there were 0.59 fatalities for 100 million VMT (vehicle miles traveled), compared to a national average of 1.17 fatalities. In 2018, there were 0.57 deaths per 100 million VMT, while the national average was 1.13 deaths per 100 million VMT. While these numbers are good — approximately half the national average — it is significant that they exclude the period of time that a driver does not have a passenger.

The majority (65%) of these deaths occurred after a crash with another motor vehicle. 31% involved a collision between an Uber driver and a pedestrian or bicyclist. 4% involved other types of fatal accidents, such as a car hitting a tree. Approximately 30% of all Uber-related fatalities were pedestrians, while 25% were either riders or drivers in an Uber.

Uber-related fatalities were most likely to occur in areas where the speed limit was relatively low — 30 to 35 miles per hour (mph). In comparison, all fatal crashes in the United States most frequently occurred at higher rates of speed — 50 to 55 mph zones. The vast majority (91%) of Uber-related fatal accidents happened on dry pavement, compared to the national frequency of 83%.

Uber primarily operates in cities and metropolitan areas around the country. For this reason, it isn’t surprising that 90% of all fatal crashes involving an Uber occurred in an urban area. Nationwide, just 53% of fatal accidents happened in urban areas.

While you can use an Uber at any time of the day or night, many people use this service at night — often as a way to get home after having a drink. 49% of Uber-related fatal accidents happened in the dark, in a lighted area, while 22% happened in a dark, unlit area. Nationally, just 20% of all fatal crashes happened at night in a lit area, and 27% occurred in a dark, unlit area.

The Uber safety report is helpful in that it establishes when and how fatal Uber accidents are most likely to occur. However, because Uber omitted key data — specifically, non-fatal motor vehicle crashes and collisions that occurred while a driver wasn’t “on the clock” — the report likely underestimates the dangers of riding in an Uber.

There are times when the safest and most convenient option is to use a ride-sharing service like Uber. While you shouldn’t be discouraged from using the app, be aware that the drivers have limited vetting from Uber — and that you could be injured in a crash as a result.

Recovering for an Uber Car Accident

One of the most challenging aspects of being in a collision that was caused by an Uber driver is determining who will pay for your injuries. If you were hurt in an accident while riding as a passenger, while you were driving or riding in another car, or as a pedestrian, you can file a claim against Uber. In some situations, you may be limited to recovering from the driver’s car insurance policy.

Under California law, Uber is required to provide primary insurance to its drivers. The limit on this insurance is $1 million, plus uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage with a $1 million limit. Because Uber is required to provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, even if another driver was responsible for the crash, if they don’t have insurance or don’t have enough to cover your losses, you will be covered under Uber’s policy. This insurance coverage starts when you enter the vehicle and ends when you leave it.

In addition, if an Uber driver has the app open and is waiting for a passenger, then Uber must provide insurance coverage. This type of coverage has lower limits: $50,000 for death and personal injury per person, $100,000 for death and personal injury per incident, $200,000 in liability insurance for the driver, and $30,000 for property damage.

Finally, if a driver is on their own time and is not using the app, then the only means of recovery is through their personal car insurance. A seasoned attorney can work with you to help you obtain compensation for your injuries.

Questions? Contact Us Today.

Using a rideshare app like Uber is an easy way to get around, but it can be dangerous if the driver is inexperienced or distracted. If you have been injured in an Uber accident, you may face challenges recovering for any damages that you have suffered, including past and future medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and reduced earning capacity. A Walnut Creek car accident attorney can advocate for your rights throughout the process.

The Appel Law Firm is dedicated to helping people who have been injured in a range of personal injury matters, including accidents involving Uber. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. Contact us today at 925-938-2000 or online to schedule an appointment.

Related: Who Pays for My Vehicle Damage in California?

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