Uber Pool Is Dangerously Distracting Drivers

Uber pool has been around for a while now. It is basically where you get a discounted fee for riding with another person who wants an Uber and the person is unrelated to your party to go to a destination that may be close to yours or starts somewhat near you.

However, Uber pool is increasingly creating a hazard to Uber drivers as the Uber driver gets notified of a possible Uber pool ride in the middle of a trip with another passenger. Uber pool passengers select that they want a discounted ride by agreeing to possibly ride with another passenger. However, there may or may not be another passenger depending on if the driver gets notified that there is another passenger that they must pick up.

Uber pool rides are completely different from other Uber rides. With non Uber pool rides, once a driver picks up a passenger, the driver can focus on following the map and taking the rider to the destination without getting notifications on their phone from Uber and the Uber App.

With an Uber pool ride, the driver may be notified that they are to pick up another passenger for the Uber pool ride. The driver may get the message as they are getting on the freeway, taking an exit, or wherever, and this could cause the driver to have to make a quick decision to change directions to pick up the new passenger. This creates a hazard to the driver, the passengers, and cars around the driver.

In Seattle, there are distracted driving laws that just came into effect recently outlawing the use of technology, items in your car, and other things that may cause you to take your eyes of the road and cause a hazard to other drivers. Seattle law allows for drivers to use mounted phone holders but requires drivers to not read, send, view electronic data while driving a car. Here is the law:

Using a personal electronic device while driving.

(i) Holding a personal electronic device in either hand or both hands;

(ii) Using your hand or finger to compose, send, read, view, access, browse, transmit, save, or retrieve email, text messages, instant messages, photographs, or other electronic data; however, this does not preclude the minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the device;

(iii) Watching video on a personal electronic device.

Uber pool’s inside notification of a new ride may be a violation of the Washington State law, as they would receive a notification and have to look at it and read it. While their trip may be automatically rerouted through navigation, they would get a notification that may violate the law. They would then have to re-route their current trip and catch the next exit on the free way or turn on the next block, possibly in heavy traffic. On the freeway, missing an exit could be the difference between a 10 minute trip and a 30 minute trip.

Being injured in a car accident with Uber or Lyft is always complicated because of the different levels of insurance coverage based on whether the driver has a passenger, is looking for a passenger, or has their app off. If you have been injured in a car accident by a Uber or Lyft driver or were injured by someone else while driving for Uber or Lyft, call a Seattle car accident injury lawyer today for a free consultation.

Andrew CherinUber Pool Is Dangerously Distracting Drivers
Read more

Uber Driverless Car Kills Pedestrian

Driverless technology is not quite here as evidenced by a fatal car accident on Sunday night. An Uber self-driving car struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona in the first known fatality involving an autonomous vehicle. Uber temporarily pulled its self-driving cars off the roads in all four cities across the US as a result of the car accident.  The killed woman was walking her bicycle outside of a crosswalk across the street when the car hit her.

Driverless Cars Break the Law Speeding?

Car Accident Related Deaths Increase by 6% in 2016

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94% of crashes involve human error. The number of lives lost on U.S. roads surged nearly 6% to 37,461 in 2016, according to the USDOT. It is unclear whether the increase in car accident related deaths is in relation to growing interurban communities and more traffic on the road or speed increases around the nation.

Pedestrians and Others Poise Special Risks for Driverless Cars

While robot cars are being created to follow traffic rules, interactions with humans continue to present hurdles. Pedestrians, in particular, can confuse systems because they are unpredictable. Even human drivers struggle to deal with pedestrians. About 50% of pedestrian fatalities involve people running into the road, failing to yield the right of way or otherwise crossing improperly, according to research by Duke’s Ms. Cummings. The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in car accident in the U.S. last year, representing about 16% of all motor-vehicle deaths.

Driverless Tesla Accident in 2016

Tesla became the first auto maker to come under significant government scrutiny for a semiautonomous driving system when a man driving one of its Model S electric cars operating with the company’s Autopilot system died in a May 2016 collision with a truck on a Florida highway. In that car accident, apparently the technology could not see the

Some research suggests that the driverless technology has a hard time determining what is a car, what is not a car, and determining and adjusting for objects that suddenly dart in front of the car. The 2016 Tesla crash involved the Model S hitting a truck that was crossing the road. The company said its car’s system couldn’t see the truck’s white trailer against a bright sky. It isn’t clear if Uber’s laser sensors failed to detect the pedestrian.

Driverless Cars in Seattle

Late in 2017, Governor Inslee signed an Executive Order allowing driverless cars to be driven within the state of Washington. However, it is unclear how many driverless cars are currently driving around Seattle and Washington State as a result. Uber was doing an experiment with driverless cars in San Francisco, Phoenix, Toronto, and Pittsburgh before this car accident. While Lyft has driverless cars providing service in Boston currently.

Andrew CherinUber Driverless Car Kills Pedestrian
Read more

Can Uber or Lyft drivers stop wherever they want?

I know you have all been behind a car that you think is just a random car in Seattle only to find it abruptly stop and throw on its hazard lights. It is so frustrating to be behind what you think is a normal car only to find it stop in the middle of the road and you nearly get in a car accident because they are an Uber or Lyft driver dropping off or picking up a passenger. Is it legal for them to stop in the middle of the road wherever they want and nearly cause a car accident?

It is actually illegal for Uber and Lyft drivers to put on their hazard lights and stop in the middle of the road to allow passengers in or out of their car. This requires a fine and is a moving violation not a parking violation.

SMC 11.72.040 – Blocking or obstructing traffic—Occupied vehicle.

No person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle and remain therein upon or along any street when traffic will be unreasonably obstructed. Violation of this section constitutes a moving traffic violation rather than a parking violation. (RCW 46.61.560)

How then can and should Uber and Lyft drivers let passengers in and out of their car? Uber and Lyft drivers should only let passengers out in designated load an unload areas in downtown Seattle. This is why these areas were created and why no one is allowed to park in these areas.

Some will point to RCW 6.61.560(3) as creating an exception for Uber drivers to use their hazard lights to drop off and load passengers. However, this subsection only applies to public transport and non profit organizations that transport disabled people. This subsection does not create an exception for Uber and Lyft which are for profit organization who are not primarily transporting disabled people.

RCW 6.61.560(3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to the driver of a public transit vehicle who temporarily stops the vehicle upon the roadway for the purpose of and while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers at a marked transit vehicle stop zone approved by the state department of transportation or a county upon highways under their respective jurisdictions. However, public transportation service providers, including private, nonprofit transportation providers regulated under chapter 81.66 RCW, may allow the driver of a transit vehicle to stop upon the roadway momentarily to receive or discharge passengers at an unmarked stop zone only under the following circumstances: (a) The driver stops the vehicle in a safe and practicable position; (b) the driver activates four-way flashing lights; and (c) the driver stops at a portion of the highway with an unobstructed view, for an adequate distance so as to not create a hazard, for other drivers.

Andrew CherinCan Uber or Lyft drivers stop wherever they want?
Read more

Uber or Lyft Car Accident: Distracted Driving and Coverage

If you have ever been in an Uber or Lyft, you know that the Uber or Lyft driver relies heavily on navigational equipment in their car to get you from point A and point B. This reliance on the navigational equipment to get you to a point the driver has probably never been before can create a hazard to other drivers as the driver constantly looks at their navigation app and could cause a Seattle car accident.

There is a high degree of attention that must be paid to the road when navigating Seattle streets due to the many one way streets, heavy traffic, hills, and fast drivers. If an Uber or Lyft driver is looking at their navigation device while driving in an unknown area with heavy traffic, they may get into a car accident because of their distracted driving that may cause injury to their passenger or other cars around them.

If you are in a car accident and are injured by the result of the negligence of an Uber or Lyft driver in Seattle who was distracted, there are many confusing insurance scenarios on who is responsible for the car accident. Uber and Lyft have certain legal requirements and varying insurance coverage depending on whether they are picking up a passenger, looking for a passenger, or off work. The insurance coverage required for each situation varies largely with each scenario.

If an Uber or Lyft driver has a passenger and is driving them to a destination, Seattle and Washington law requires Uber and Lyft to cover any liability charged to their driver as a result of their negligence that causes a car accident injury to their passengers or people in other cars. This is the time where Uber and Lyft will have their most insurance coverage for you. They are required to have $1,000,000 in insurance coverage.

However, if you are injured by an Uber driver who is searching for a passenger, the insurance coverage available to you may be far less. This insurance coverage may not be enough to cover any injury requiring a hospital visit and extensive physical therapy or chiropractic treatment, let alone a surgery.

Additionally, if you are injured by an Uber driver who is not actively searching for a passenger, their own insurance will cover your injuries. These Uber or Lyft drivers may only have the minimum insurance policy of $25,000 required for liability in Seattle and Washington State. If you are injured in an accident with minimum coverage, this amount may be exhausted with a hospital visit and extensive physical therapy of chiropractic treatment.

Moreover, if an Uber or Lyft driver does not have their ridesharing app on showing that they have a passenger or are looking for a passenger when the car accident happens, Uber and Lyft may claim no responsibility for the car accident and say that the driver must use their own insurance and they claim no responsibility for their driver even if their driver did in fact have a passenger or was actively searching for one. This comes into play even more so if there are no witnesses to prove otherwise.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to get a Seattle personal injury lawyer immediately following a car accident injury with an Uber or Lyft driver. Call today for a free consultation. Seattle personal injury lawyers are paid out of the settlement so their is never any out of pocket costs to you. This way everyone can afford a Seattle personal injury lawyer but you cannot afford not to have one.

Andrew CherinUber or Lyft Car Accident: Distracted Driving and Coverage
Read more

Uber and Lyft Required to Have PIP

What if you are in an Uber or Lyft car that is hit by another car? Many people have wondered who is going to pay for their car accident injuries immediately following the car accident. Can you go to the emergency room and not have to pay out of pocket? Can you go see a chiropractor and not pay out of pocket?

Who is going to pay for your medical bills right now? The defendant’s insurance, if you are hit by another car while riding in a Lyft or Uber, will not pay for your medical bills immediately. This is because they will only make one settlement payment to you that will encompass compensation in full for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among others. In order to maximize your recovery, you should wait until you no longer require any further medical treatment to settle your case with the defendant’s car insurance. They will not pay your right away for medical bills so don’t expect them to, even though they will in the end (there is an exception if you are a passenger of an at fault vehicle, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist hit by a car).

What to do to pay for your medical bills after a Lyft or Uber accident? Contact Uber or Lyft and get your claim number and PIP application from them. Washington State now requires Uber and Lyft to carry PIP insurance for their passengers.

Senate Bill 5550 in 2015 was passed and now amends the law on required automobile insurance to apply to ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft. Now Uber and Lyft must provide at a minimum $10,000 in PIP benefits to their passengers if there is a car accident involving their drivers no matter if it was their driver’s fault or not.

If you have been injured in a car accident while riding in an Uber or a Lyft car, you are entitled to PIP from Uber or Lyft today! Don’t let them fool you into thinking they are not required to cover your medical bills and the other driver at fault is required to pay for your medical bills. If you have been injured in a Seattle Uber or Lyft car accident, contact me today for a free consultation. 

Andrew CherinUber and Lyft Required to Have PIP
Read more

Lyft Car Accident In Seattle: What to do?

If you are injured in a car accident with a Lyft driver or while riding in a Lyft car in Seattle, there are a lot of possible insurance companies at fault for your injury case. You could have the benefit of many possible insurance companies to recover money from to pay for your injury treatment and pain and suffering.

If you are hit by a Lyft driver, you have three avenues to recover: Lyft insurance, the at fault driver’s insurance, or your own insurance. If the Lyft driver is actively looking for a passenger to money or has a Lyft passenger, Lyft’s insurance coverage will cover the car accident.

If you are hit by a lyft driver who is not actively searching for a Lyft customer or has a Lyft customer, the Lyft driver’s personal insurance coverage will be responsible for your car accident injury case.

If you are hit by a Lyft driver that doesn’t have insurance for whatever reason and Lyft’s insurance doesn’t apply because there was no passenger or active search for a passenger, your own insurance will cover your car accident injury case if you have UIM insurance (uninsured motorist insurance). This insurance coverage will step in and pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering as if they were representing the defendant. You need a lawyer for this case.

If you are a passenger in a Lyft car accident, you have possible avenues to recover from such as Lyft or the other driver that hit your Lyft driver. If you have your own insurance coverage for UIM and PIP, it will step in and cover your medical bills and personal injuries that Lyft did not have enough coverage to compensate you for.

If you have any questions, call Andrew Cherin today at 2068506716 or email me at [email protected].

Andrew CherinLyft Car Accident In Seattle: What to do?
Read more