Many road safety advocates in Louisiana and around the country were supportive of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft when they were introduced in 2010. They reasoned that ride-sharing would reduce the number of vehicles on the road and allow people who consume alcohol to get home without placing other road users in danger, but a study released in 2018 by researchers from the University of Chicago and Rice University suggests that applications like Uber and Lyft may actually be contributing to surging car accident fatality rates.
The research team came to this conclusion after studying traffic accidents in U.S. cities using data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Administration between 2001 and 2016, and they paid particular attention to fatality figures in the two years before and after ride-sharing became available. The researchers discovered that the introduction of ride-sharing services corresponded with a 3% increase in road deaths.
The most significant increase in fatal accidents took place in large cities with comprehensive public transportation networks, which led the researchers to determine that services like Uber and Lyft were often being used to replace bus or subway trips rather than car rides. They also found that the introduction of ride-sharing services led to an increase in vehicle registrations, which added to congestion and increased the risks of road travel.
Individuals injured in accidents involving vehicles being used to provide ride-sharing services face a bewildering array of laws and regulations if they choose to pursue civil remedies. This is because drivers who provide ride-sharing services are independent contractors and are not employed directly by companies like Lyft and Uber. Personal injury attorneys with experience representing taxi and ride-share accident victims may be aware of these legal complications, and they could use this knowledge to determine the most effective way to proceed and seek compensation in this type of case.