Uber and Lyft are revolutionizing the way we commute. For reasons I don’t understand we happily entrust our lives and our children’s lives to drivers who are not screened and may be moonlighting to supplement their income.
Somehow the convenience that Uber and Lyft provide made us forget to ask the important questions we would normally consider to be important. How long have you been driving? How many prior accidents? How many hours have you been driving today? Did you work another job yesterday, and drive through the night?
A lawsuit filed in Miami Dade County today will bring these issues to the surface.
On December 27, 2015, Pablo Sanchez Jr used an Uber to take him home from Downtown Miami to Country Walk. Unfortunately, as Pablo was getting close to him home the Uber driver turned into oncoming traffic, flipped over and burst into flames. Pablo was trapped inside and died.
Pablo’s friends and fellow passengers, who survived the crash, described the driver as looking down before the collision. This, of course, would be consistent with Uber’s business model that requires Uber drivers to use their cellphones for business transactions, and to respond to calls for hire. So while as a society we are trying to limit distracted driving, Uber actually founded their business model by encouraging distracted driving and unregulated drivers.
As reported by the Miami Herald, Miami-Dade leaders are torn with how much scrutiny to give the company’s drivers in a push to legalize the popular service. Mayor Carlos Gimenez proposed letting Uber itself handle background checks, but a proposal drafted by County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime would require drivers to submit to county screening. Commissioners are expected to take up the issue for an initial vote at their Jan. 20 meeting, with both Monestime’s proposal and a Gimenez-backed ordinance proposed by Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo working their way through the legislative pipeline.
Another issue for accident lawyers is identifying whether the defendant in an automobile accident was an Uber driver. We are sending affidavits in all cases to the drivers insurance carrier and requiring the driver to affirm whether he or she was driving for Uber, Lyft or any other ride sharing service at the time of the accident.