Distracted Driving and Rideshare Accidents

Firm News • April 6, 2023

Cell phones have become a significant distractor on the highways in New Jersey. One of the purposes of calling rideshare services is for safe transportation free of distractions. But with rideshare drivers allowed only seconds to accept fares for ride requests, you may be putting yourself in a line of danger you hoped to avoid.

Rideshare accidents and determining insurance responsibilities should an accident occur can get rather technical. The best way to protect yourself and recover from financial loss due to a rideshare accident is to speak with a New Jersey rideshare accident lawyer.

Response Time Matters

In New Jersey, over the span of five years, distracted driving was the major contributor to almost 800,000 accidents. When drivers have only 15 seconds to respond to a fare request, it is not unreasonable to believe that rideshare drivers contribute to these numbers.

When a driver is pinged for a ride and asked to accept a fare, it is not as simple as accepting or declining a fare. Time matters, and to determine the details of a requested trip, the driver has to read the phone’s screen for more information. If the driver is unfamiliar with the requested location of a potential fare, mapping apps or additional data collected about the fare request may be used, displayed on a tiny screen.

Missing a fare request hurts a driver’s acceptance rate. Rideshare companies track these statistics, and riders can use this information to choose the most reliable drivers. Additionally, the rideshare company Uber has the option to suspend drivers for too many unaccepted fares in a row.

Passenger Time Matters

Passengers are more than likely heading to time-sensitive events when requesting rideshare services. As much as we would like the driver to be safe, a passenger will likely frown on the idea of sitting on the side of the road while a rideshare driver reads phone messages to determine their next move. Getting to a destination promptly is part of requesting a rideshare service and choosing to use it again in the future.

To keep in good standing with the rideshare company, future passengers, and current passengers, a driver will more than likely have to make decisions on the move with the distractions of a phone screen a genuine danger not only to vehicle occupants but other travelers. Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to being victims of distracted driving.

Statistics on Rideshare Driver Accidents

For most companies concerned with safety, employee accidents are recorded, and statistical conclusions are determined to improve the company’s overall performance and safety record. But rideshare companies stand firm that drivers for their services are independent contractors and not considered employees. Some rideshare companies, such as Uber, are willing to track drivers’ unaccepted fares and suspend them for lack of response but will not document the accidents of their drivers.

New Jersey took bold steps to sue one rideshare company and demand they treat drivers as employees, requiring them to pay unemployment and disability taxes for its drivers. Uber ultimately agreed to pay these taxes but still maintains that drivers are independent contractors. Because of this, a driver’s record is private information and cannot be collected.

Representation for Victims of Rideshare Accidents

Rideshare services allow for making wiser choices about driving instead of navigating busy cities, particularly if the passenger plans to participate in activities that may impair their driving abilities. But when the rideshare driver is continuously distracted by the pings of fare requests, the safety of rideshare comes into question. Brady, Reilly & Cardoso, LLC have the knowledge to help you navigate the complicated laws of rideshare services and demand accountability if you become the victim of distracted driving in a rideshare accident.