Ride-sharing services have grown dramatically. It was reasonably foreseeable that personal injury cases involving these services would involve car accidents. Earlier this year, however, CNN disclosed a report indicating that over 100 Uber drivers were accused of sexual abuse or assault.
Nine members of Congress have now posed questions to rideshare companies concerning their practices on sexual assault or harassment and their training on other safety issues. Their inquiries were also directed to Lyft, Juno, Curb and Via.
To address some of these concerns, Uber recently told its app users that they will be able to share trip information on rideshare trips with selected individuals, that their app will have immediate 911 access and that Uber will perform annual background investigations on its drivers. It no longer requires arbitration, instead of other normally-available court proceedings, when passengers make assault or harassment charges.
In May, it also said that its platform will contain a report with information on these and other incidents occurring during rides. In April, the ridesharing company announced its investment in technology simultaneously identifying driver offenses and that it will develop an app for drivers allowing them to share their location with police.
However, officials from several states and attorneys who sued Uber called for additional measures including in-person interviews, greater government scrutiny and finger-print background investigations on all potential drivers. Critics also claim that Uber and Lyft engaged in a serious lobbying effort to restrict government measures requiring more scrutiny of drivers, according to critics. CNN reported that Uber played a major part in drafting the language of these laws.
For example, 43 states enacted laws requiring screening procedures for drivers. However, Massachusetts is the only state where rideshare companies do not possess the responsibility for conducting these investigations.
Agencies in Massachusetts and three other states performed more background investigations with alarming results. These agencies uncovered thousands of drivers with questionable criminal records even though rideshare companies approved them after their private investigations. In Denver last month, police arrested a driver after the fatal shooting of his passenger.
An attorney can help victims of crimes and accidents involving ride-sharing companies to seek compensation. They can act when companies do not reasonably protect their passengers.