Rideshare services promise consumers safety as part of their terms of service. Over the last several years, more and more of us have been accustomed to using rideshare services such as Lyft and Uber.
While rideshare apps have become the new normal in transportation, it is natural for many to still wonder if they are safe. Lyft has become one of the most popular rideshare apps used in the United States.
In the last quarter of 2020, roughly 12.5 million used the Lyft app, representing nearly a third of the market share in the rideshare industry. However, things have not been smooth for Lyft in the area of passenger safety.
The company has faced sexual assault and personal injury lawsuits. This is a brief guide, which examines the possible risks posed by Lyft and how you can stay safe while using the app for your transportation needs.
Is Lyft Safe to Use?
On its website, Lyft claims that it is safe to use. But, it is important to understand that safety is relative. According to the company's first ever safety report, 10 people were killed in physical altercations and more than 4,000 people were assaulted during Lyft rides from 2017 to 2019. Also, during that period, 105 people died in fatal car crashes involving a Lyft vehicle. The company is has faced and continues to face multiple lawsuits from victims of sexual assault and rape.
If you are a loved one has been injured in a Lyft accident it may be in your best interest to contact a rideshare attorney in Los Angeles. The Vaziri Law Group offers free initial consultation to inquired Lyft accident victims.
Lyft Safety Features and Programs
Here are some of the safety features and programs Lyft has put into place in recent years:
COVID-19 safety: The coronavirus pandemic has led most businesses to follow health and safety guideline such as using facemasks and sanitizing vehicles.
License plate visibility: License plates make it easier to identify your ride. The tab containing the driver's license plate information within the Lyft app is displayed bigger so it is easy for riders to find. You should always match the license plate in your app to the vehicle to make sure you get into the right vehicle.
Rider emergency assistance: This is one of the most important features of the Lyft app, which allows riders to call 911 for emergency help from within the app. You should do so if at any time you feel unsafe or uncomfortable during your ride.
Feedback system: Lyft requires riders to provide context when they leave a star rating less than four. This feedback is sent to drivers anonymously to help them improve their service. Drivers who drop too far down in the ratings could be deactivated from Lyft.
Identity verification: This is one of the most important safety features that was launched in 2019 to verify the drivers' identity.
Sexual harassment training: Lyft also provides sexual harassment and safety education for drivers and riders. This is part of the company's effort to curb incidents of sexual harassment, one of the most common safety issues on its platform.
What is Lyft's Safe Ride Fee?
Lyft's Safe Ride Fee or Service Feeis an additional fee that is added on a per-ride basis. This fee helps support the Lyft Platform and related services including a broad spectrum of operating costs and safety measures such as insurance and background checks. When you take a ride on Lyft, you will see a line item on your emailed ride receipt that notes the fee unless you were quoted the ride's upfront price. When Lyft gives an upfront price, this fee is included in a single total on your receipt.
The Biggest Risks to Riders
Here are some of the biggest risks or dangers to Lyft riders:
Impostors: Individuals posing as Lyft drivers is one of the biggest dangers riders face. It's easy for people with criminal intent to register on the platform by forging their identity and other required documents. It can be a challenge to distinguish real drivers from impostors. As a result, the platform could become less safe. As part of its background check, Lyft has upgraded its identity verification program. This additional step makes it more difficult for drivers to use fake identities.
Scammers: Riders who use Lyft also need to be wary of scammers. Some drivers may take a longer route to rack up your bill.
Accidents: When you ride in a vehicle, you always face the risk of getting in a car accident. Some of the major causes of accidents on Lyft include driving under the influence, driver fatigue, distracted driving, speeding and reckless driving.
Safety Tips for Riders
Here are some safety tips for Lyft riders:
- Be sure to wait in a safe place. Remain indoors until you see the vehicle pull up outside.
When you hail a ride, make sure the car that pulls up in what the app says you should expect. Match the license plate with the one in your Lyft app.
- Ask the driver “what's my name,” so you know you are getting into the right car.
- Use trip-sharing features by sharing your ride with a friend or loved one who is not taking the ride with you. The person will be able to monitor your location throughout the trip.
- When you are taking a ride, sit at the back so you have two exits in case of emergencies.
- While there is nothing wrong in talking with the driver, do not share personal information. If you are talking on the phone during your ride, avoid conversations that will divulge personal information.
Which is Safer: Lyft or Uber?
It is hard to determine which app is safer to use. Both have serious safety risks including sexual assaults. With the measures that are in place and the statistics, it is possible to say Lyft is relatively safer. However, no platform is 100% safe. Rideshare companies need to continue to take safety and security seriously.
What Could Be Done to Make Lyft Even Safer?
There is no question that Lyft should continue to make its driver verification program its top priority. This is a big step that could help prevent major safety issues for Lyft passengers. There is of course the possibility that someone without a criminal record can still commit a crime. This is why Lyft needs to make deeper background checks to catch those who might not have a rap sheet, but still have dubious work histories.
Can a Rider Sue Lyft for a Car Accident?
If a negligent Lyft driver caused your car accident and injuries, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. However, it can be tricky to hold Lyft accountable for your injuries and losses because rideshare drivers are typically classified as independent contractors. An experienced Lyft accident lawyer will be able to help you file a lawsuit and hold all the at-fault parties liable.
Getting Help After a Lyft Accident
If you were involved in a Lyft accident, the experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at the Vaziri Law Group can help you secure maximum compensation for your losses. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge any fees unless we win compensation for you. Call us to schedule a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.