An article we stumbled over from a Charlotte, North Carolina TV station points out an interesting and potentially important distinction between the two best known ridesharing services, Uber and Lyft. The article, which discusses the safety practices of the two transportation giants, notes that both companies perform background checks, but Lyft conducts in-person interviews with drivers, including taking a look at their vehicles, while Uber does not.
So, does this make an important difference in terms of preventing possible personal injuries, not just due to collisions, but also to violence? After all, there have been a number of highly reported incidents involved alleged assaults by ridesharing drivers. While the odds of finding a driver who is either an overtly dangerous driver or violent are pretty low, as attorneys who take on a number of Lyft and Uber cases, we have to wonder if the in-person interview and inspection might be a safety plus. Certainly, a driver interviewed in the article would say yes.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I think it’s pretty important. I’d feel much more comfortable if my wife or my sister is needing a ride, I’d feel much better if they were in a Lyft ride compared to an Uber because I know someone has put eyeballs on who the driver is.”[/perfectpullquote]
As anyone who’s ever been involved in conducting job interviews knows, it’s a far from perfect promise. People can make an excellent impression while hiding obvious issues that become all too apparent after they get the job; it also is definitely true that someone who might be an otherwise top-notch fit for a position might be lose out to someone else because of poor interview skills or because of the idiosyncratic preferences of the interviewer. On the other hand, job interviews can make a big difference in that, at the very least, they should screen out people with obvious personal issues – such as clear emotional instability or drug issues – that might make them an unsafe choice for a driver. Our involvement with Uber and Lyft is as lawyers, not statisticians. Still, it’s hard not to wonder if Lyft’s practices don’t have some important safety benefits.