Every vehicle on the road influences the safety of others. However, the dangers associated with certain types of vehicles can result in more significant consequences for others in traffic. For example, semi-trucks have a strong association with severe collisions that can cause life-altering injuries and catastrophic property damage.
Of course, not all vehicles used for commercial or business purposes are far bigger than other vehicles on the road. Rideshare vehicles, for example, are personal vehicles that individuals use to provide services similar to those of a taxi. Unlike traditional taxi services, rideshare services largely depend on mobile device apps and the resources of the contractors that drive for the company. The two big players in the rideshare industry, Uber and Lyft, have long claimed that their presence could help improve safety on the roads.
Is it true that the proliferation of rideshare vehicles has had a positive impact on road safety?
Ridesharing helps in some regards and hurts in others
Rideshare services have only been around for a few years, so there isn’t any real long-term data about their impact available. However, looking at crash rates in recent years can yield very valuable information for those wondering about how these vehicles influence safety on the roads.
Some research indicates that markets with a large number of Uber and Lyft vehicles see a reduction in drunk driving collisions. Having an affordable, convenient alternative to driving home may help some people make better safety choices when they have had too much drink. However, a long-term review performed by academics in Chicago shows that overall, the increased presence of rideshare vehicles on the road has translated to more than 700 additional traffic fatalities each year. Like taxi drivers, rideshare drivers often drive more aggressively and faster than members of the general public, and the lack of direct employment oversight may contribute to the development of bad habits among those moonlighting as rideshare drivers.
Anyone affected by a rideshare crash may have a relatively complicated claim process ahead of them, as business insurance policies and a complicated web of legal liability may be difficult for them to navigate. Unfortunately, although rideshare services are very valuable, they are not as safe as many in society hoped they would be.