atching an Uber or a Lyft is now commonplace and very convenient. Most people reading this article have pro
bably experienced ridesharing themselves, especially if you reside in or have visited a large city. No money is exchanged between a passenger and a driver, you can use your phone to track your driver’s arrival and route while on your trip, it is less expensive than traditional public transportation such as a taxi, and if you’re a driver, you can make some extra money. Those all sound like great things – and they are. But what about the other side of ridesharing where crimes are being committed?
Crimes Associated with Uber and Lyft
According to the LAPD, since 2016, ‘Uber and Lyft drivers have committed more than 500 crimes’ in the Los Angeles area. However, the police tracking crimes in this area note that there have been more crimes against Lyft or Uber drivers than crimes in which these drivers were the perpetrators.
Protecting Yourself When Ridesharing
People use ridesharing for various reasons like getting to work, as an alternative to their car that may not be working,
or to explore a city without having to take mass transportation or worry about parking. When you are taking an Uber or Lyft, you should be mindful that it is not a taxi; the same safeguards do not exist for drivers and passengers. With that said, you should consider employing these tips to protect yourself as a passenger the next time (and every time) you use a ridesharing service. Here are a few of the suggestions:
- Don’t ride alone – Take a partner with you in the vehicle. Especially if you are intoxicated, you should not be getting into the car without a sober passenger.
- Use the apps’ notification features – Let someone know you are taking an Uber or Lyft, and they can track your trip on their device.
- Don’t give the driver personal information – Small talk with the driver is fine. But just as best practices advise against sharing personal information online, you should follow the same advice while ridesharing.
- Confirm the driver – There have been instances of fake Uber drivers picking up passengers. Don’t ask the driver, ‘Are you John Smith?’ Ask the driver to tell you your name so you can be sure he or she is the correct person.
As indicated above, in LA, drivers are more often the victim of a crime than passengers. This means that Lyft and Uber drivers must take precautions to keep themselves safe as well. Below are some steps to take as a driver to protect yourself:
- Report rider behavior – If you notice that a passenger is acting in an erratic or suspicious manner, do not hesitate to report the passenger’s actions via the Uber and Lyft safety protocols.
- Be selective – Use the same rating system mentioned above to check passenger ratings before accepting a rider. Also, do not pick up passengers in unsafe areas.
- Install a dashcam – A dashcam that records the inside of your vehicle can provide evidence of passenger actions and potentially discourage riders from poor behavior.
- End the ride – If a passenger is acting aggressively or behaving in a way that threatens your safety, pull over to a safe place, and inform the passenger you are ending the trip.
Deciding to Take anUber or Lyft
There are risks in many of the activities we do every day, whether we are driving a car or taking a shower. But we wear seat belts and use shower mats to reduce the likeliness of injury. Most of the time, when we engage in these activities, we are fine, and we go about our day. When you take an Uber or Lyft, or choose to drive for a ridesharing service, you will most likely have an uneventful experience. But there are potential risks to your safety that may be involved. You should be aware of the risks so that you can decide whether participating in ridesharing is for you or so that you can take the necessary precautions as mentioned above.
Getting Help When You are the Victim of a Crime
Although the probability that you will be the victim of a crime during a ridesharing trip is low, the possibility still exists. Freeman & Freeman is a personal injury law firm that has experienced Uber and Lyft injury attorneys. Contact us if you are the victim of a crime as a driver or a passenger of a ridesharing service.