Using a cellphone while driving is one of the deadliest distracted driving behaviors that occur on our Texas roadways. That is why the Texas Department of Transportation states that vehicle operators cannot send or receive electronic messages while driving.
This creates a conundrum for Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare drivers who rely on their cellphones to make money. These drivers work directly from an app on their cellphones — sometimes toggling between more than one company app — to increase their revenue by picking up more riders in shorter timespans.
Because rideshare drivers rely on technology to support their livelihoods, since Uber and Lyft began operating there has been a 2% – 3% increase in accident fatalities, leading to around 1,100 deaths a year throughout the country.
However, accepting or ending a passenger’s ride is not the only way rideshare drivers are contributing to vehicle collisions, injuries, and fatalities throughout Texas. Here is why.
How Are Rideshare Drivers Contributing to Vehicle Collisions in Texas?
Recent study statistics show that 41% of non-rideshare drivers admitted to reading texts while inside an operating vehicle. Another 11% said they have texted while moving in traffic. When these drivers cause accidents on our Texas roadways, they can be pursued for the damages caused by their negligence.
Conversely, rideshare drivers strictly rely on their cellphones and the driver apps to procure passengers, which means they are freely looking down at the devices, and manipulating the app throughout their employment to increase business.
When a rideshare app notification alerts a driver to a potential nearby rider who needs their services, they only have 15 seconds to accept the next fare.
The act of reading the notification and responding to the alert is the very definition of distracted driving.
What is more, after a rideshare driver accepts a rider, they are provided with a map that shows the quickest route to get to their fare. This requires the driver to follow a map to potentially unfamiliar locations. This means they are diverting their attention to their phones, and away from the act of driving.
In other cases, the passenger may send direct messages to the driver, alerting him or her to their exact whereabouts or providing other directions about their movements. This requires the driver to read messages and respond, or search for passengers near the pickup location, yet again taking their eyes and attention off the road.
Once the rideshare driver picks up their passenger(s), he or she is given yet another map and route to get to their destination, further encouraging drivers to focus on their app instead of on the road in front of them.
Other potential distractions that occur once the rider is in the car include:
- Communicating with passengers or attempting to control their behavior in the vehicle
- Accommodating passenger requests to change the radio station, unlock windows so they can roll them up/down, or adding another stop to a ride that is underway
- Expanding the map to get a closer look at the destination and best driver route
The National Safety Council (N.S.C.) reports more than 700 injury crashes involve distracted driving on a typical day in the U.S., including those caused by cellphone use.
Based on the inherent requirements to be an Uber or another rideshare driver, their actions behind the wheel are directly causing additional crashes, injuries, and fatalities throughout Texas.
Contact Our Skilled Rideshare Accident Attorneys in Austin at Glen Larson Law Injury Attorneys Today
If you have been injured in a collision with a rideshare driver or while a passenger inside their vehicle, we can help you hold the liable driver and their rideshare employer accountable for their negligence.