Uber and Lyft facing rape and wrongful death lawsuits
Riders may not be safe when hailing rides with Uber and Lyft, especially if they are women looking for a way home alone at night after enjoying an evening partying with friends. That scenario has played out in numerous locales across the U.S. in recent years as the two ride-sharing -sharing companies have gained unprecedented popularity.
Women, in each situation, found themselves at the mercy of Uber and Lyft drivers late at night on their way home alone with no companions.
Uber has been sued in San Antonio, Texas, College Park, Maryland, Boston Massachusetts, San Francisco, California, Charleston, South Carolina, and Miami, Florida in sexual assault cases involving its drivers. Lyft has been sued in Seattle, Washington, San Diego, Los Angeles and Escondido, California and Orlando Florida in sexual assault cases involving its drivers.
Other lawsuits against Lyft and Uber
Both companies have also been sued for wrongful deaths. An Uber driver hit and killed a six-year old girl in San Francisco in a crosswalk. Two of Lyft’s drivers were named in wrongful death suits, one in Miami and another in Austin, Texas. Both victims were motorcycle riders.
Lyft and Uber claim their drivers are contractors, not employees, so the companies are not responsible for driver behavior. Bloomberg News reports a federal judge in San Francisco recently rejected that claim. Uber recently settled lawsuits for $100 million with drivers in California and Massachusetts who sued to be classified as employees, according to NPR.
New fingerprint technology changing the picture?
Uber and Lyft don’t fingerprint drivers to ensure they don’t have criminal records. Taxi companies do. But Lyft and Uber are fighting requirements all over the country to fingerprint drivers, arguing it won’t improve safety and is an unnecessary burden on their companies.
Austin, Texas recently began using new fingerprinting techniques and caught “86 people” with criminal backgrounds applying to be ride-sharing drivers, according to CNBC. Though Uber still maintains its background checks are adequate, it agreed to pay $25 million to settle a suit filed by city attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco, charging it with lax safety checks.
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