Ridesharing and carpooling apps have improved the ease of transport for millions of people globally, but have been blighted with health and safety issues – from hygiene to personal safety. The BBC recently reported that rival firms Uber and Lyft would start to share their data in an effort to combat this, hailing in a new era of safety-conscious taxi hailing apps. This has come in response to what observers have said is, arguably, a failed duty of care by the ridesharing giants at a time when scrutiny is ever-increasing when it comes to tech firms.
Ridesharing companies have been routinely criticized for their record on passenger and pedestrian safety. Uber accidents are among the most active upcoming areas in personal safety litigation, and activity has been taking place in other civil and criminal courts too. 2020 saw a huge spike in the number of cases ridesharing firms faced concerning assault within their vehicles, with 6,000 women coming forward during preceding years, according to Business Insider. This has had an impact on ridesharing companies, which has only become more pronounced with legal changes across the world.
Changes in law
February 2021 saw Uber losing a legal battle in the UK’s highest court that resulted in the classification of their drivers as ‘employees’. While a subtle distinction, what this attracts is a greater level of employment rights. Wired has noted that 15,000 drivers have already raised claims against the tech giant in relation to this. These changes are a nod toward wider change that will improve the health and safety of drivers and pedestrians, with data-driven tech at its center.
According to the Financial Times, Uber in the UK has granted union access to its drivers. Unions across the world are expected to follow suit, and this will lead to the biggest changes yet in health and safety. The role unions have in driving up health and safety is huge, and with the driver’s unions accessing driver data and anecdotal information, they will be able to push forward crucial safety changes that will help ridesharing companies to enjoy a greater level of credibility when it comes to protecting the public.
With this, rider and pedestrian safety will improve. Fundamentally changing how rideshare companies look at safety, and using their data to improve it, is a high-tech and savvy way to address the problem and make ridesharing safer for everyone.