The Atlanta area — with the nation’s busiest airport and a growing population — is one of America’s top markets for rideshare companies. About 50,000 people drive for Uber and Lyft in our area, according to some estimates. While providing a valuable service to residents and tourists alike, these drivers do not always do so safely. Distracted driving is proving to be a serious danger to passengers and others on the road.

Distracted driving, which means focusing on any non-driving activity while behind the wheel, is one of the nation’s leading causes of auto accidents that lead to deaths and injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted driving caused 3,142 motor vehicle deaths in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available.

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual — The driver takes his or her eyes off the road
  • Manual — The driver’s hands come off the wheel
  • Cognitive — The driver’s mental focus is taken away from driving

Using the Uber or Lyft app (or any other app) involves all three types of distraction. A driver often takes a hand off the wheel to adjust the GPS or to do something else with the app.

If you notice that your Uber or Lyft driver appears to be focusing on use of a device, don’t be afraid to speak up. You can ask the driver to stop using the device or to pull over. If the driver refuses, you can always tell them to end the ride and let you off. However inconvenient that may be, your safety must come first.

If an accident does occur, you can make an insurance claim. Both Uber and Lyft provide up to $1 million of insurance coverage for accidents ($1.5 million for Uber Black), but many variables make it difficult for victims to recover compensation. For example:

  • Uber and Lyft have been known to deny responsibility in accidents where the rideshare driver was not transporting a passenger at the time of the crash.
  • The insurance policies pay less when the crash occurs while the driver is on their way to pick someone up rather than actively transporting someone.
  • The $1 million coverage is per accident, not per passenger. So, if four people are injured in an Uber accident and they each have $300,000 in medical bills, not everything will be covered.
  • If a rideshare passenger is injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, the passenger’s insurance comes into play before the rideshare coverage.

If you were injured by a distracted rideshare driver, be sure to speak with a qualified motor vehicle accident lawyer about your legal options for recovering damages.

The attorneys of Jason & Bradley, LLC are aggressive advocates for auto accident victims. Our Stone Mountain firm represents clients throughout metro Atlanta. Call 404-297-9933 or contact us online to arrange a free attorney consultation.