A Chicago Tribune article from September 5, 2016 points out that no statistics are kept by the city of Chicago regarding how many rideshare drivers for Uber and Lyft are involved in crashes every year. The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer are surprised by the lack of safety data given the large number of Uber and Lyft drivers on the road. Attorney, Peter Zneimer is currently handling many accident cases involving Uber and Lyft drivers involved in traffic accidents that have caused serious injuries due to the negligence of the rideshare driver. Police crash reports do not have any box to check if a Lyft or Uber driver was involved in the crash. Chicago Police officer and spokesman Jose Estrada was quoted in the article, pointed out that “Taxicabs are easier to identify and document on the traffic crash report because of their specially issued Illinois license plates and medallion numbers,” “For Uber or Lyft, there is no designation because they are regular vehicles with no special municipal or state licensing. It may be designated as an Uber or Lyft if the reporting officer writes that in the narrative portion, but that’s left up to the discretion of the officer.”
Illinois Department of Transportation uses this information to track the number of taxi accidents. From this data, it was revealed that there were 4,129 crashes taxi crashes in Chicago. 830 of these crashes caused injuries and 3 of these crashes caused fatalities. It would be useful to have accident data for Uber and Lyft drivers to make a safety comparison between rideshare drivers and taxi drivers to see if there is a difference in frequency of crashes. Given the popularity of ridesharing services these days it would be nice to know if there is any greater risk of accident by using a rideshare service versus using a taxi service.
Uber passengers and Lyft passengers can have some reassurance that if they are injured due to the negligence of their driver, Uber and Lyft drivers are covered by a one million dollar insurance policy while they are “on the clock” meaning from the time they are picked up until the time they are dropped off. Other drivers on the road that may be injured by an Uber or Lyft driver can also make a claim against the one million dollar policy when the rideshare driver is “on the clock”. If the driver is not “on the clock” then that driver’s own insurance policy has to provide coverage.
The attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. agree with this article that better safety statistics need to be kept for rideshare services to determine if the services are at least as safe as taxi services.