This uber car accident lawyer has seen a significant uptick in clients injured as a result of being involved in a ridesharing accident. Are uber drivers more likely to cause car accidents? To understand why I believe the answer to this question to be: yes. You have to understand that this opinion has nothing to do with Uber attracting inherently bad drivers. I would guess that Uber attracts a wide spectrum of skilled drivers – from excellent drivers to those that drive quite poorly. The bell curve probably closely resembles the general public.
As an uber car accident lawyer, the basis for why I believe Uber drivers are more likely to cause accidents has much more to do with the Uber business model.
As further described in the New York Times (link below), Uber employs behavioral psychologists to manipulate Uber drivers into driving more in an effort to earn more money, when tired uber drivers should be off the road resting.
Tired uber drivers are more dangerous uber drivers
Can we agree that (like pilots and truck drivers) uber drivers should limit their shifts? I think everyone would agree that after a certain number of continuous hours logged into the uber application, that an uber driver should log off and rest.
Uber’s business model is centered around it being convenient and cheap. It’s convenient because there always seems to be several uber cars available within 5-10 minutes throughout South Florida. An uber driver is probably no more than 2 minutes away in metropolitan areas such as downtown Miami or downtown Ft. Lauderdale.
Uber very much tries to incentivize their drivers to stay on the road. The more uber vehicles on the road at any given point in time, the more likely they are to be close by a potential uber passenger as soon as they fire up their Uber app from their smartphone.
The NY Times investigators say that Uber has paid hundreds of scientists to develop video-game like techniques to influence when, where and how long an Uber driver will work, sometimes to the detriment of the Uber driver.
Dangerous Uber Driving Incentives
As an uber car accident attorney, I am really interested in how corporations utilize more profitable techniques that potentially endanger the public. Below are some examples of techniques used by Uber. These are similar devices studying and used by video game makers – goals that seem easily attainable motivate players (and in this case drivers) to complete more tasks! The corporation’s goals become the driver’s goals.
Before an uber driver can log off the app, a window will pop-up and let them know if they are close to hitting a bonus. So, when a tired Uber driver might grab those last three uber fares in order to get an extra couple of dollars. The option to “continue driving” pops up as preselected.
Behavioral economists call this “income targeting.” This steers Uber and Lyft drivers to work longer hours on days where demand is not as high.
Similar to video games, Uber drivers earn badges of honor the more they drive.
Uber experiments with varying forms of encouragement that can be as simple, but pervasive, as sending congratulatory text messages when an uber driver is close to any goal that would result in a monetary bonus.
Similar to Netflix technology that encourages binge-watching by automatically loading the next episode before the current episode ends, Uber technology encourages binge-driving by automatically sending them to their next Uber passenger before the current uber car passenger is at their destination. In fact, it takes more effort to stop than to keep going. Uber and Lyft utilize this tool and its referred to as “forward dispatch.” The impact is that uber drivers and lyft drivers are more likely to stay on the road and less likely to take breaks. Uber drivers even report finding it difficult to stop to use the bathroom!
From the NY Times Article: “It was all day long, every day – texts, emails, popups: ‘hey, the morning rush has started. Get to this area….where demand is biggest’.”
Part of these programming updates are due to responses from Lyft drivers and uber drivers themselves – they report hating being idle, so Lyft and Uber respond to this demand rather than risk driver signing off. This, I believe, increases the chance of an uber car accident injury.
Uber even experimented with pretending to be female when texting or emailing with Uber drivers because they found there was a better response (most Uber drivers happen to be male).
With more and more drivers signing up with Uber as their primary source of income, these incentives can be too compelling and, as a byproduct, dangerous and result in car accidents.
Think about how many tourists vacation in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale – who are now more likely to be injured by their Lyft or Uber driver that has been up too late trying to make that extra bonus. An article further discussing tourists / vacationers and business travelers injured in an Uber can be found at the link. Furthermore, some Lyft and Uber drivers drive dangerously anyway – by taking their eyes off the road when not utilizing their smartphone mounts.
While Lyft has developed a reputation as being kinder to their drivers, Lyft has engaged consultants to figure out how to manipulate Lyft drivers as well – encouraging Lyft drivers to participate during busier periods with monetary incentives and showing them how much money they were losing by foregoing Lyft passengers utilizing their current schedule. Lyft’s consultants developed these experiments in conjunction with behavioral economists.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a lyft car accident or uber car accident call us today. Our uber and lyft car accident lawyers serve the entire state of Florida.
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