THE UNITED STATES – According to an article published on sfpublicpress.org, states like California are beginning to realize ride-hailing accidents must be properly accounted for and studied by local and state law enforcement agencies. Traffic safety advocates have discovered that there very little ride-hailing accident data made available to the public.
For example, the California Highway Patrol accumulates comprehensive data regarding all types of traffic accidents. However, the data does not indicate if a ride-hailing vehicle was involved in the accident. In fact, the California Department of Motor Vehicles stated that the agency does not collect statistics on the number of ride-share accidents.
According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the only statewide data concerning ride-hailing accidents is provided to the state in annual reports by ride-hailing companies. These reports are not made publicly available due to a footnote in one California regulation that grants the companies complete secrecy regarding accident data provided to the State of California. Genevieve Shiroma, a representative of the California Public Utilities Commission, has authored a new proposal that would remove the footnote that has managed to keep the ride-hailing industry’s accident and safety data secret for years. The public pressured the California Public Utilities Commission to release previously unpublicized accident reports through numerous public records requests. The startling information provided in the reports illuminated the surge in crashes involving ride-hailing automobiles.
A 2015 California Public Utilities Commission presentation provided some accident data from Uber, Lyft, and four small ride-hailing firms that operate in California. In one revealing CPUC presentation slide, the number of ride-share drivers who finished the drivers’ training that is required by the commission grew from approximately 2,000 drivers per month to over 31,000 drivers per month in two years. A shocking revelation as to the sheer volume of new ride-share drivers. The CPUC did not release records detailing the ride-hailing driver training in accordance with the confidentiality footnote.
In the CPUC’s presentation, the number of “incidents” and “collisions” in California involving ride-hailing companies grew substantially. The CPUC presentation reported that the number of ride-share accidents in California increased from a few per month to over 1,200 per month in just two years. According to the story, the commission was careful to avoid using phrases such as “vehicle accidents.”
According to the CPUC’s presentation, a majority of the accidents were sideswipe accidents, rear-end collisions, and different kinds of “minor incidents.” The CPUC cited the following incident statistics:
- 300 incidents involving passengers opening the car door into traffic causing accidents with skateboarders, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and scooter riders.
- 200 incidents of accidents affecting pedestrians or bicyclists.
- 100 incidents of a ride-hailing driver running over customers’ feet.
However, the most staggering data point was the extraordinary increase in the number of accidents involving ride-hailing drivers. The accident rate skyrocketed from 1 accident million miles driven to 17 accidents per million miles driven. The accident rate of 17 accidents per million miles driven is substantially higher than the national average.
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