Should Rideshare Companies Track Car Accident Statistics

I read an interesting article in the Red Eye this week, that investigated whether companies like Uber, Lyft and Taxi companies track the number of traffic accidents their drivers are involved in. You can read the article here.

The answer to the above question is no. Not only do rideshare and cab companies not track their driver’s car accidents, but neither does the state. All car accidents in Illinois that are reported to law enforcement must include an Illinois Traffic Crash Report. The investigating agency must fill out the report, which includes all of the driver information, whether medical treatment was required, whether traffic citations were issued and, most often, which driver was at fault for the traffic accident. The report also includes a box to check whether a driver was in a commercial vehicle (i.e. a tour bust or commercial van etc..) The report does not include a rideshare or taxi company classification. So, in theory, it is incredible difficult to to track the number of car accidents are caused by rideshare and taxi companies each year.

Should this change? Should the city of Chicago or the state alter the traffic crash reports to include a section regarding rideshares and taxi companies? I think the answer is yes. How do we know how safe these companies and their drivers are? I think it would be beneficial to start tracking these accident and classifying the type of drivers involved. This type of data would help local and state legislators determine if stricter driver qualifications are required for Uber and Lyft drivers. Should background checks and stricter driver testing be required? I don’t know the answer but we could learn a lot more if there were actual statistics taken on the number of car crashes occur every year.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Illinois Governor Quinn Vetoes Ride Share Bills

The Chicago Sun Times, Early & Often, political website reported yesterday that Governor Quinn had vetoed the controversial ride share bill that would have put restrictions on companies like Uber, Sidecar and Lyft.

The bill would have required rideshare companies to closely track how many hours each of their drivers averaged on their platforms. Those who offered rides more than 36 hours every two weeks would have to comply with safety regulations similar to taxi drivers — namely, obtaining a public chauffeur’s license, getting fingerprinted and submitting to a criminal background check. Additionally, the companies would have to provide commercial liability insurance identical to that which is required for taxis, for all its drivers — regardless of how many hours they spend on the platform. The governor’s veto ensures that Chicago’s less rigid ridesharing regulations championed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel will stand and take effect later this week.

This was a tough decision for Quinn as he was forced to balance both customer demand with thriving technology versus a protection of the old guard – – here being the taxi companies. The taxi companies are not happy at all as they are held to a much higher standard when it comes to background checks, training and fees for licensing. My issue was whether passengers, pedestrians and fellow drivers would be protected by enough insurance. I think the local ordinance passed in May in Chicago addressed this issue among others. As I wrote here, the local ordinance requires ride share companies and its’ drivers carry $1 million in commercial auto liability per incident while the driver has accepted a ride until the completion of the ride, $1million in commercial general liability per occurrence for bodily injury, personal injury and property damage, and auto liability insurance to cover drivers when logged into app until the driver accepts a ride. Basically, this covered the loophole where drivers didn’t have any passengers in their vehicle but are actively searching for fares. The local ordinance also required a basic driver training course and clean driving record (no misdemeanors convictions such as DUI or reckless driving). It is an endless debate and there’s a chance that the veto is overridden as the original bills passed the Illinois House, 80-26 in June, and would require only 71 votes for an override. The Senate passed the measure 46-8, and would require only 36 to override.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Uber & Lyft Expand Insurance Coverage Following Pressure From Chicago and Illinois Legislatures

We have heard of new companies like
Uber and Lyft that have taken over the ride share community in Chicago. A
simple app on your phone will help you track down a driver to take you
somewhere in the city. Uber and Lyft are similar to taxis but can be a little
more expensive but users prefer the convenience and appreciate the fact that
the vehicles are usually nice and provide more room than your typical taxi
(think town car or luxury SUV).

While these companies have taken off
Chicago and state officials are cracking down on them to determine if there is
sufficient insurance coverage for passengers and other drivers. WBEZ (NPR)
radio reported last week the steps that the Illinois Senate and the city has
taken to ensure there is enough insurance coverage in case an Uber or Lyft
vehicle is involved in a car crash. Uber, Lyft and Sidecar require their
drivers to have personal auto insurance, and claim to offer excess liability
insurance of $1 million per incident, but have declined to share copies of that
policy with WBEZ and others. The problem, said witnesses at the hearing, is
that the excess policies are not triggered until a driver’s personal insurance
is exhausted — and personal insurance policies explicitly preclude coverage
for commercial use of a vehicle. Sandoval noted that Lyft and Uber
recently changed their policies to “drop down” to serve as primary insurance in
case a driver’s personal policy declines to cover damages from an accident. But
insurance industry representatives said they could not verify if that covers
the insurance gap without seeing copies of the policy. They also noted other
problems with the excess policies, namely the companies’ stipulation that the
coverage applies only when a driver has accepted a fare, until that ride has
ended.

Well, the pressure from subpoenas by
the city and the Senate Committee hearing last week has apparently forced these
companies to act quickly. Uber announced late last week that their insurance
will now cover their drivers when they are out and about searching for
fares. Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, held a conference call with reporters
to discuss an extension of its coverage to periods when drivers may be looking
for passengers. “What we’re announcing today is that for the period of
time between trips, when the app is open and the driver is essentially
available for requests, we are announcing that we are rolling out coverage for
Uber partners on uberX nationwide, and that coverage starts today,” said
Kalanick.

City and state legislatures often
receive a lot of criticism for the work they do (or don’t do), but in this case
I think they deserve kudos for focusing hard on this issue. If they had not
issued subpoenas or called for answers then I don’t believe Uber would have
expanded their insurance coverage. This means that if a passenger is hurt in an
Uber or Lyft vehicle, there will be a lot more insurance coverage (one million vs.
$50,000/$100,000) and those other drivers or pedestrians who are injured while
the driver is searching for fares will also be covered. It’s not clear at this
point if Lyft has expanded their coverage like Uber has. I will be interested
to find out.***

***Edit. CBS News in San Francisco (where both companies are based) reported that Lyft is also expanding its’ insurance coverage during the period that where drivers are seeking fares.

If you or someone you love has been
involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, at 312-588-3384 for a free legal consultation