Since Uber officially launched in 2012, the company has received hundreds of complaints from passengers reporting Uber drivers high on drugs.
How Safe is an Uber Ride?
Uber has strict safety guidelines for its drivers with a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy, yet problems with impaired drivers continue to rise. Currently, Uber is under investigation for permitting drivers to pick up and transport passengers while high or impaired on marijuana and other drugs.
In a recent report by the California Public Utilities Commission, the Commission acknowledged 154 complaints received between August 2014 and August 2015, but only 21 cases were investigated by Uber. With the 154 complaints, some Uber drivers had already received 3 or more prior complaints of impaired driving. Overall, only 25 drivers were suspended for their actions, while other drivers were allowed to continue picking up and transporting passengers. The Commission alleges that Uber ignored complaints and disciplinary measures were never enforced.
Since state laws legalized marijuana, rideshare accident lawyers have witnessed a rise in impaired driving accidents. Uber considers driving while using marijuana as impaired driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that driving under the influence of marijuana can increase crash risks for a driver because marijuana:
- Lowers the ability to make decisions
- Slows down reaction time
- Impairs hand/eye coordination
- Distorts visual depth perception
- Causes difficulty with problem-solving
- Causes drowsiness and lack of attention
Uber Safety Protocols
In 2019, Uber launched a new Ridecheck Safety App to improve passenger safety. Using smartphone technology and sensors built into GPS data, Ridecheck allows Uber passengers to log in to the app and report suspicious activity or terminate their ride. If a passenger is in a crash caused by an impaired driver, the app provides instructions for getting medical help and reporting the accident.
If Uber passengers are in a crash that causes injuries, the Ridecheck App allows passengers to seek medical attention and alert police. In addition to getting proper medical care and filing a police report, injured passengers can use medical records to support a personal injury lawsuit filed by a rideshare accident lawyer in civil court. If an Uber driver is found guilty of driving while impaired on drugs, an injured Uber passenger can collect compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In addition, the Uber driver may face monetary fines, jail time, and a driver’s license suspension.