An Uber driver is being sued after an Austin couple was injured in a crash they believe was avoidable.
About the Uber Crash
Matthew and Elizabeth Harris requested an Uber when they were leaving a Red Roof Inn in north Austin last October.
As the driver pulled out of the parking lot, the vehicle was struck by oncoming traffic.
According to KXAN, the impact of the crash broke Elizabeth’s back in two places and Matthew experienced severe whiplash and abdominal bruising.
Elizabeth has not been able to return to work since the incident.
About the Car Accident Lawsuit
The couple filed a lawsuit this week, claiming the crash happened because the driver was intoxicated and distracted by her phone.
According to the couple, they could smell alcohol as soon as they entered the Uber vehicle. They also say their driver was behaving erratically.
An Uber company spokesperson assured the couple that third-party background checks are performed on their drivers periodically to ensure they are law-abiding and safe behind the wheel, but the Harrises believe more should be done in order to prevent similar situations from happening.
The Dangers of Distracted Drivers
One of greatest rivals to safety on the road is distractions. Distracted driving kills approximately 9 people and injures more than 1,000 in car crashes every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Uber drivers are not immune to distractions. In fact, many Uber drivers are likely to become distracted by their phones due to the Uber mobile app, according to Harry Campbell.
Harry Campbell, known online as The Rideshare Guy, has worked as a driver for Uber and other rideshare services. He believes many Uber drivers feel as though they have a limited amount of time to accept a new rider request before they lose the client and the income.
This urgency may cause Uber drivers to check the mobile app and answer requests even while driving, leading to dangerous accidents and injury to both driver and riders.
Uber claims that their mobile app was designed to avoid such situations. They encourage drivers to use the app’s hands-free function that allows drivers to accept a request by responding audibly or by touching any location on their screen, eliminating the need to focus on the screen.
To protect themselves, people should be very cautious and vigilant when using rideshare. Riders should make sure to not distract their driver and to alert others if they feel unsafe at any time.
Distracted Driving Statistics 2017
Information below provided by the NHTSA
- Nine percent of fatal crashes in 2017 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
- In 2017 there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
- Six percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. Eight percent of drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal crashes.
- In 2017 there were 599 nonoccupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, and others) killed in distraction-affected crashes.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving an Uber or other vehicle used in a ridesharing service, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our attorneys have the legal knowledge and resources to handle your claim aggressively and effectively. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide. Call us today for a free case review.