Uber is facing about $1.13 million in fines for failing to properly address complaints in California about its drivers working while under the influence. According to a report on CNET.com, the California Public Utilities Commission has said it has “zero tolerance” rules when it comes to complaints of driving drunk or under the influence of drugs. The state’s Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division has looked at 154 Uber-related complaints and found that the company violated those rules in 151 of the cases between August 12, 2014 and August 31, 2015.
Failure to Investigate
Out of the 154 reviewed complaints, Uber could only prove that it tried to contact the driver in 50 cases and only conducted some semblance of an investigation in 21 instances, state regulators say. Uber could also only show that it suspended drivers within one hour of a passenger filing complaint as is required in just 22 instances.
In response, Uber said it has updated its procedures since those complaints were filed and that the company’s community guidelines strictly forbid driving under the influence. An administrative law judge is expected to review the situation before making recommendations to the California PUC.
Popularity of Rideshare Services
Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are soaring in popularity because of the convenience and lower fares. They operate in hundreds of cities worldwide by allowing users to download an app, connect with a driver near them and get a ride to their desired destination. For many people, rideshare services have become an alternative to cabs. However, there have been a number of safety concerns for passengers including sexual assaults and robberies. Understandably, a really important concern is whether the driver whose car you’re getting into is driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Safety Tips for Uber Riders
Here are some safety tips for those who choose to take Uber or utilize other rideshare services:
- Verify the identity of the driver and their car before you get in. The Uber app provides riders with their driver’s first name, photo, license plate number and a picture of the vehicle and its driver’s rating. Make sure you pay attention to this information.
- Use common sense. If your driver has bloodshot eyes or if you smell alcohol or marijuana in the vehicle, don’t get in the car.
- Take note of the driver’s rating on the app. The Uber app allows riders and drivers to rate each other. This is an attempt on the part of Uber to reduce problematic behaviors.
If you or a loved one has been injured while being a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. Contact an experienced California rideshare accident attorney who can help you better understand your legal rights and options.