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Study Links Uber and Lyft to Increase in U.S. Traffic Deaths

The past decade, which has witnessed the explosive growth of ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft, has also seen roads become more dangerous in various cities throughout the United States. Since 2011, road fatalities nationwide have increased by approximately 1,100 deaths per year, according to a recent analysis. This time period corresponds to when Uber gained popularity after its 2009 launch and the founding of Lyft in 2012.

In a study of traffic deaths conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago and Rice University, a rise in fatal incidents was observed after years of declines. Based on information about when ridesharing was introduced to certain cities, the study found several links between these services and the higher fatality rates. These include:

  • “Deadheading” — Trips where Uber and Lyft drivers are ferrying passengers from place to place amount to only about half of the time that they’re on the road. In between fares, these vehicles are driving around without a destination, often for several miles, waiting for the next rider to contact them. This increases traffic, and worse so if several rideshare contractors are hovering in a certain area to attract fares.
  • Inexperienced, untrained drivers —Rideshare contractors don’t require any special license or extensive training but may be under pressure to complete trips quickly, since part of the allure for these contractors is the ability to make some extra money in their spare time.
  • Ridesharing as a replacement for mass transit — In larger cities, many people now use an app to secure a ride where they previously might have walked a few blocks for a train or waited for a bus. This means more people are exposed to possible car accidents and potentially fatal ones.

Getting hurt in a crash during an Uber or Lyft ride may present additional legal issues regarding liability and the verification of drivers. An attorney with a proven track record in vehicle collision cases can outline your legal options.

Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban advocates on behalf of injured accident victims in the Carolinas and Virginia. Whether you’ve been hurt as a rideshare passenger or in your own vehicle, please call (888) 351-1038 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

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