First, Uber arrived. Then it became a part of daily life. Now it claims to have made the world safer.
The company asserts that its product—namely, taxicabs 2.0 – has drastically reduced the number of drunk driving collisions. Independent studies back this up. Depending on the region (and researchers), Uber and other ridesharing services are associated with cutting down on alcohol-related accidents by as much as 35 percent.
The only drawback is that, in Athens and throughout Georgia, there’s been an increase in Uber-related accidents. And passengers, as well as the drivers themselves, are often uncertain what to do.
It’s easy and it’s smart
The risks of driving drunk are never worth it. Even first-time offenders face thousands of dollars in fines, jail time, and the suspension of their driver’s license. Repeat offenders face even harsher penalties.
Ubers, meanwhile, are easy to summon and affordable to ride in. In Athens, the average cost-per-mile on an Uber trip is currently 86 cents. (For an UberXL that bumps up to $1.31.) This is a rather cheap price tag for peace of mind.
But accidents happen
Peace of mind lasts, of course, only until it’s disrupted. And though relatively infrequent, there are hundreds of accidents involving Uber drivers each year. It’s an unfortunate irony—the business that promises safety sometimes places its users in danger.
After an early rash of crashes, Uber set in place a robust insurance policy to cover any accidents. When there’s a passenger in the car—or when a driver is en route to a pickup—the company offers coverage of up to $1 million.
Nevertheless, victims often find themselves zeroed out. Uber has, in its brief history, established a reputation for challenging claims and preventing drivers and victims alike from getting the compensation they need for medical bills and related costs. In such circumstances, working with a lawyer can be an invaluable step toward obtaining the funds needed to recover.
Still, the risk-reward ratio for taking an Uber (or Lyft, or whatever) home from happy hour is much better than that for driving drunk. The roads have proved to be safer, and one hopes that they become safer still.