Uber is in the hot seat again! This time, they are facing a lawsuit because one of their drivers hit a family who was on the crosswalk of a San Francisco intersection. A mother and her two children were crossing the street when they were struck by an Uber driver. The mother and her five-year-old boy were injured and unfortunately, her six-year-old girl was killed.
What is Uber?
Uber is advertised as a downloadable app for a cellphone that is used to connect customers to rides, similar to a taxi service. The idea and the app have become a worldwide business, but not without controversy. When the company started, they used Lincoln, Cadillac, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz as the cars their customers could hail. Now, they have expanded their car selection to appeal to a larger cross section of customers.
In almost every city where Uber has appeared, they have been met with regulatory problems. They operate like a taxi service, but claim they are not taxis and therefore are not required to operate as taxis would be expected to operate.
When they moved into Texas, they were not welcomed with open arms either, for many of the same reasons they had faced in other places. They continue to claim they are only a technology company and would, therefore, not be required to pay the taxes, fees and follow the regulations a cab or limousine company would need to adhere to in compliance with the law. Uber has another problem: Their drivers are always online.
Driving, Texting and Responding to Customers
In order for Uber drivers to be responsive to the customers’ requests, the drivers must continually use their cellphones. They also need their cellphones for GPS location of customer pick-ups. The wrongful death lawsuit Uber is facing from the family of the little girl, states this distraction was the cause of the accident.
The drivers must constantly be communicating on their cellphones to potential customers who want a ride. In areas where texting or cell phone use while driving is prohibited by law, Uber is guilty of negligence per se. Forty-one states have banned cell phone use and texting while driving. Texas is not that restrictive. Texas law prohibits the use of cell phones while driving if you:
- Have had a learner’s permit for six months or less.
- Are under 18 years old.
- Operate a school bus when children are present.
- Are in a school crossing zone.
Depending on your city or county, there may be further rules on cell phone use while driving. Contact your local law enforcement for more information on laws on cell phone usage while driving and related fines.
Distracted drivers are as dangerous as drunken drivers. Many drivers think they can multi-task until they cause an accident. Then it is too late, the injury or even death cannot be undone. If you have been in an accident while the other driver was using a cell phone, you need an experienced and aggressive attorney who can get you the compensation you deserve for you injuries.
Call The Law Offices of W.T. Johnson today for a free consultation.