Ride Sharing: Is It Worth It?

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Let me be upfront. I am not a fan of ride sharing with anything other than a taxi. I advocated against ride sharing and when they first took flight, I criticized them publicly for not doing background checks on their drivers. They do now but they could do a much better job. There have been numerous lawsuits against both Uber and Lyft over the years accusing them of allowing unsafe conditions for riders and drivers. In 2019, according to a safety report by Uber, there were 3,045 sexual assaults, 58 fatalities, and 9 fatal physical assaults were reported out of the 1.3 billion total rides completed in the prior year, 2018. Between 2017 and 2019, Lyft received 10 reports of fatal physical assaults and 1,096 reports of sexual assault. (Lyft Community Safety Report) 

Currently, law does not require that rideshare drivers submit to fingerprint background checks, and many reports claim rideshare company lobbyists essentially write many of the laws that  require the current (and what I consider inadequate) background checks used. How convenient!

A ride hailing brand approached me years ago wanting us to promote the company and offering We Save Lives some amount for each ride we sent them. I refused. I know that many other highways safety groups support and advocate for them. I find that so disappointing because these groups know that distracted driving is common among ride share drivers. I don’t like to criticize my fellow advocates but I often wonder how many of them ride in cars where the driver is staring at a mobile device while driving. I know many of these groups think it is safer to use a ride share app then drive impaired. Yet in some cases you may be risking your life to go in a car with a ride share driver who does not prioritize your safety. This does not mean that you should drive impaired but if it were me, I would opt for a taxi. Yes, I know there are problems with taxis but I still feel safer in one.

Although my concern is for all passengers, I am most concerned with women who use these services on their own. I know some who do and despite my warnings they continue. 

Since my mission for the past 40 plus years has been to save lives, I am posting  some safety tips for those who refuse to give up ride sharing. 



Ride share beware! 

  • Ride share companies may not screen their drivers carefully and some with a criminal record may still be driving. 
  • Not all low rated drivers are removed from the platform in a timely manner
  • Not all drivers are adequately insured if there is a crash. If the driver gets into a crash and the passenger is hurt, there’s no guarantee that the driver’s insurance company or the ride-sharing service will pay for damages.
  • Also, ride sharing drivers often lack any professional training, unlike taxis or professional car services. 
  • Taxis are regulated by the locality in which they operate, but in most cases, those regulations don’t apply to ride sharing services. 
  • Ride share drivers often do not know the directions of their destination and will use a mobile device to help them. They will also take calls while driving. This is distracted driving, which is dangerous. 

What You Can Do to Stay Safe

  • Always pick the driver based on their rating system using the highest possible rating. Also use a driver you have used before, if possible, especially if you felt safe with them. 
  • Make sure you get in the right car. Do not mistake another driver as yours. Compare the car’s details with the ones listed for your driver. 
  • Always share the details of your ride with someone else. Let your driver know you are sharing the ride with someone else.
  • Try and always travel with a friend especially if you are a woman. 
  • Always buckle up and stay alert if at all possible.
  • Be careful about using a ride share if you are impaired. Make sure you have someone who is sober with you.
  • If your driver uses a mobile device while driving ask them not to. If they don’t know directions you can give them from the back seat. I have done this before with taxis. 
  • Do not share personal info with your driver except what they need to complete the ride. 



You can report unsafe driving on the app, so do it! If you feel uncomfortable ask to be let out and call the police if necessary.

If you still plan on ride sharing, please keep these tips in mind. Please share them with others, and remember I write them because I want you and yours to remain safe.

Because I Care . . . 

Candace Lighter, Founder
We Save Lives
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Author, “Giving Sorrow Words: How to Cope with Grief and Get On with Your Life”

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