The rap on Uber is that it’s “just like a taxi, but better!” That’s probably true in some respects, but is safety one of them?
That question came to the forefront last month, when several Uber passengers in Michigan learned that their driver was in the middle of a murderous shooting spree when he picked up their fares.
Add that to the rapid rise in accidents involving Uber.
Naturally, Floridians are worried — is Uber as safe as we hoped it would be?
Miami is looking to answer that question with tougher security measures. Among them: a proposed fingerprinting requirement for every Uber driver in the Miami area.
Local leaders and community members are divided on the measure, but Uber says that if the county goes through with it, they’ll stop offering their services in Miami altogether.
Uber Accidents and Ridesharing Safety: The Current State of the Law
Real-time ridesharing is a relatively recent phenomenon. Courtrooms and legislatures haven’t quite kept pace with the changing trends in transportation. Accordingly, Uber became very popular in Miami before anyone had a chance to regulate it.
Some say that’s a good thing. Indeed, the casual and privatized nature of Uber has been a key part of its allure. But as grim headlines emerge, cities like Miami are looking to make a change.
Currently, there are relatively few government-mandated rules in place about who can operate an Uber vehicle, though the company insists that its own private hiring program is sufficient to keep riders safe.
As the Herald reports, Miami-Dade County wants every for-hire Uber driver to submit to fingerprinting and a background check. (Notably, the measure would apply equally to for-hire taxi drivers in the county too.)
Currently, the county only requires fingerprint checks for the owners of taxi medallions (usually the taxi owner but not necessarily the driver).
Uber has defeated similar efforts in nearly every U.S. county that has proposed them, including South Florida’s own Broward County last year. Notable exceptions include counties in Houston and New York City.
The company claims that the fingerprints are excessive, unnecessary, and irrelevant. Uber argues that in Miami alone, it has employed more than 10,000 drivers. That figure dwarfs the metro’s 4,000 taxi drivers.
But if the regulations would save a single life, might they be worth it? And how far are Miami passengers willing to go to insist that Uber safeguard them?
Legal Protection for Florida Uber Accident Victims
Whatever the outcome of Uber’s legal battle in Miami, we want rideshare passengers to know that they have a right to safety on the roads. Drivers have a duty to act responsibly, and that duty extends to companies like Uber, which put those drivers on the road. If you or someone you love has been injured in a ridesharing accident in Florida, the Miami accident lawyers at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC are here to help.