Sami’s Law Will Force Uber and Lyft to Protect Their Passengers
Ridesharing companies have grown significantly over recent years. These companies, like Uber and Lyft, help Americans take billions of trips every year. With the technology today, one would imagine that there should be no issues for users to take rides using these platforms. However, dangerous people have taken advantage of the system. Many people have suffered injuries due to Uber and Lyft driver impersonators, and others have lost their lives. This is why Sami’s Law was passed unanimously in January 2023.
In 2021, just Uber alone observed 1.77 billion trips. According to their 2019 and 2020 safety reports, only 0.0002% of trips involved a “critical safety issue.” After an incident involving Samantha “Sami” Josephson in 2019, there was a nationwide push for more awareness of these situations. Unbeknownst to Sami, a man claiming he was her Uber driver was only pretending.
How will Sami’s Law protect passengers?
Sami’s Law came into play because of a murder involving a person posing as a rideshare driver – something that could have been prevented with more safety precautions in place. Since the signing of Sami’s Law just this past January, several things have changed:
- Ridesharing companies must create a verifiable electronic access system. This enhanced verification system, such as the utilization of scanning QR codes before the ride begins, can assist in preventing accidents involving fake drivers
- All drivers must prominently display company-official lighted signs
- It is unlawful to sell fake signs to appear as an official driver and vehicle working for these companies
- Impersonating these drivers is now a crime
- A Government Accountability Office, or GAO, report is required on every incident of assault and abuse between a driver and passenger(s)
- The GAO is to now examine the exact requirements behind these companies’ background checks and how they conduct them, including each state’s standards
- An advisory council with 15 members, known as SAMI’s Council, was created to report to the Secretary of Transportation to continue improving safety standards in this industry
Once the rideshare companies take accountability and begin to make these changes, we can hope that these incidents will not be seen anymore. When people get into a car with a total stranger, rideshare companies have on obligation to ensure the safety of the passengers/users.
How can an injury attorney help me if I was hurt in an Uber or Lyft?
Drivers pretending to work for these companies are not the only problem with ridesharing. These drivers must undergo a background check, including a review of their driving and criminal records. They look out for any driving violations and disqualifying convictions and infractions. Although ridesharing companies require these checks for drivers before they begin, how do we know that they don’t just disregard certain records?
Recently, a passenger was injured by an Uber driver whose record was tainted with driving infractions, but approved to drive for the company anyway. This passenger suffered a permanent disability as a result of the driver’s actions and Uber’s inability to verify who the person behind the wheel truly was. Being in a vehicle (with a stranger) can be unsafe if the rideshare companies aren’t verifying the identities of the drivers, and confirming they are capable of safely operating these vehicles with passengers.
After an accident involving a ridesharing company, there are various ways in which an attorney can assist you and your case. They can help conduct an investigation into the accident. If necessary, with the help of forensic accident reconstructionists, they can help paint a better picture to the jury as to how the accident occurred and why the Uber driver (or another third party driver, if applicable) was negligent. They can request security footage that may have captured the accident to help strengthen your case. They can assess damages, come up with a compensation value, and communicate with insurance companies on your behalf. Using their expertise, you will not have to go about seeking a claim against these large companies alone.
Riding in an Uber or Lyft is a common occurrence for Marylanders, so it’s important that rideshare companies take steps to ensure passengers’ safety. If you have ever been injured by a driver working for a ridesharing company, you may be entitled to compensation. At Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A., we have multiple offices throughout Maryland and are ready to answer any questions you may have. Our experienced lawyers can fight these large ridesharing companies alongside you. Call our office, or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.
Joshua Plaxen graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, and graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2012 magna cum laude. He was also inducted into the Heuisler Honor Society for finishing in the top ten percent of his class. During law school, Joshua served on the Executive Board of the University of Baltimore Law Review.