Uber and other rideshare services are an attractive alternative if you don’t feel like using yellow cabs or the subway to get around New York City. But just like there are hazards with traditional methods of commuting, there are risks associated with using rideshare services. An accident could cause serious injuries to vehicle occupants, pedestrians and bicyclists alike.
Risks aside, Uber is undeniably a transportation method of choice in New York City. It began offering rides in the city in 2011. According to the New York Times, it was handling more fares than the city’s taxis by 2017. Last year, there were more than 65,000 Uber vehicles affiliated with the city that provided more than 400,000 rides to passengers.
Uber and U.S. Accident Rates
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Each day, roughly 15 million rides are taken in Uber vehicles worldwide. Despite this enormous figure, there is scant data on crashes involving Uber vehicles. However, there were only six reported fatalities in 2016.
Research is divided on whether Uber and rideshare services are increasing the risk of vehicle injuries and deaths. According to preliminary results from a joint study by the University of Chicago and Rice University, there has been a two to four percent rise in motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents in the U.S. since the advent of the ridesharing industry in 2011.
However, a study from Western Carolina University in 2016 reported that rideshares are associated with fewer accidents and a decline in the number of drunk-driving crashes in certain areas.
Yet another report in the American Journal of Epidemiology found no associations between Uber services in metropolitan areas and traffic fatalities, even when drunk driving, weekend and nighttime factors were taken into account.
These conflicting reports indicate that to date, it is still unknown the ultimate affect that Uber, Lyft and other services have on consumer safety.
Uber Accident Safety Recommendations
While there is no definitive evidence to suggest that Uber creates extra risks for the public, the addition of thousands of more vehicles-for-hire in New York City increases congestion and the overall potential for crashes. There are ways to protect yourself.
When taking an Uber, always:
- Verify the driver’s identity.
- Check that the driver knows your name before getting in the car.
- Ride in the back seat.
- Wear your seat belt.
- Avoid distracting the driver with rowdy behavior.
- Make sure that friends or loved ones know where you are going.
- Make sure the driver stops at a safe location before exiting the vehicle.
If you’ve been injured in an Uber accident in New York, compensation may be possible to help pay for your medical bills, lost wages and more. It’s important to contact an experienced car accident attorney to review your case and discuss your legal options.
Contact the dedicated Uber attorneys at Belluck & Fox to arrange a free consultation. New York has complex insurance laws dictating who pays after a vehicle crash, and our knowledgeable attorneys can take over all negotiations with insurers so you get full and fair compensation for your losses.