New Yorkers have come to rely on rideshare services like Uber and Lyft to travel throughout New York City, Rockland County and the surrounding areas. While these services provide great convenience and have helped keep drunk drivers off the roads, the rise in rideshares has not correlated with a decrease in car crashes. In fact, data shows there has been an increase in traffic accidents, particularly at locations where rideshare drivers pick up and drop off passengers.
Researchers from Columbia University, who reviewed data from close to 373 million rideshare rides in New York City between 2017 and 2018, cited distracted drivers and distracted pedestrians as likely contributors to the increase in collisions. Because passengers must use a mobile app to call a rideshare vehicle and the driver must use an app to accept and start the ride, a driver or passenger may pay attention to a cell phone at the cost of failing to pay attention to potential hazards.
Driver inexperience is offered as another possible explanation for the higher rate of accidents. Uber, Lyft and other rideshare services impose minimal requirements for being accepted as drivers. Even for experienced drivers familiar with the New York City metropolitan area, navigating it poses significant challenges. A driver who does not know the local roads, the customs of New York drivers or pedestrians or the laws that govern city streets is more likely to get into accidents.
Because rideshare companies allow passengers to call cars to pick them up at practically any roadside location in New York, drivers are often tasked with finding ways to safely pull over during heavy traffic. Pedestrians, meanwhile, may have to navigate through busy or chaotic sidewalks, bicycle lanes and parking areas in order to check the license plate of the rideshare vehicle and to enter and exit the vehicle safely.
Traffic experts have proposed a variety of possible solutions aimed to reduce rideshare accidents at pickup and drop off locations. One proposal is to designate specific areas for rides to start and finish. This could reduce the likelihood of drivers having to stop in unexpected or unsafe spots, which creates hazards for other drivers.
If you are injured in rideshare accident, an attorney at Orak & Associates, PC can work toward holding the driver and the rideshare company liable for damages. Based in Pearl River, New York, we represent clients hurt in New York City, Rockland County and Northern New Jersey traffic accidents. To request a free initial consultation, call 917-216-8819 or contact us online.