By Matt Lalande in Personal Injury on June 08, 2018
Since Hamilton Uber and Hamlton Lyft hit the scene, ride-sharing has taken over and for many people looking for transportation, it is becoming even more preferred then traditional taxi cab service for it’s lower costs, flexibility and convenience. Ride-sharing apps make it easy to schedule, hail and pay for transportation. There is no longer a need to call central dispatch, wait in a line, or wave down a cab from a curb. The convenience of tapping “request” on your smart phone from the comfort of your home and waiting for a push notification that your driver is “arriving now” is unprecedented. In dense urban markets, drivers arrive in less than a minute.
But, as convenient as ride-sharing can be for the consumer, utilizing the service is not without its risks. Uber’s on-boarding of drivers has been recently reported as dangerously negligent.
CNN has recently reported that over 103 Uber drivers were accused of sexual assault or abuse over the past four years int he US alone. As of May 2018, 31 of the 103 Uber drivers have been convicted for crimes “ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape.” The problem has gotten so out of hand that Congress have sent Uber and Lyft letters of concern over the many sexual assaults, demanding details on how they train drivers, report sexual assaults and harassment, and maintain records on such instances, among other issues. The problem exists not on in the US and Canada, but in every part of the world that Uber and Lyft operate.
A major concern is that ride-sharing programs like Uber or Lyft don’t perform out of jurisdiction criminal background checks – meaning that they could hire an Uber Driver in Hamilton, who may have been accused of convicted of sexual assault in Miami. Also, there are reportedly no records on drivers who have been accused of sexual violence.
Over the past few years, there have been hundreds of many reports of incidents involving ride-share drivers. The following is a short list of the hundreds of incidents reported in the media involving ride-sharing drivers and their passengers.
Ride-share drivers are commonly people who are looking to make some extra money. Some of them are students. Some are parents looking to add additional income to the family. Some are people who enjoy driving and meeting new people.
There are some requirements to be a ride-share driver; however, neither Uber nor Lyft require fingerprints or complete criminal background checks before hiring a driver.
To be an Uber driver in Ontario you must have a reliable vehicle that is seven years old or newer. It must have 4 doors that can open independently, not have any branding, snow tires in the winter and pass an inspection by a vehicle mechanic.
You have to be legally able to drive in Ontario and you have to pass some background screening. But, according to Uber’s website, most people who have a valid license can become a driver for their service.
While rideshare apps and services have guidelines and hiring requirements for drivers, they are not strict or stringent. The convenience of the apps have helped these services to grow in popularity; but, as a passenger you should still be on guard when getting in a stranger’s car.
Uber has community guidelines for drivers and passengers. Uber asks drivers to refrain from commenting on someone’s appearance or asking questions about their relationship status. They also have a no-sex rule and state there is no sexual contact between riders and drivers ever.
As a passenger, you have a right to a safe ride. Physical and sexual assault should not be tolerated. But many people do not understand what constitutes sexual assault.
You are under no obligation to communicate with your rideshare driver, to flirt or accept any verbal or physical advances. If you feel uncomfortable, violated and have not given permission for the exchange, you may have a claim. Your best bet right now is to contact a personal injury lawyer.
The big keyword in a sexual assault claim is consent.
The driver does not have permission to touch or make sexual advances toward you, no matter what. This includes if you are intoxicated. And keep in mind, not saying no does not mean you said yes.
There have been hundreds of cases of people being assaulted physically, verbally or sexually by their ride-share driver. In addition, there have been many cases where people posing as rideshare drivers have picked up passengers and assaulted them. This is an alarming trend.
Sexual assault is a horrific experience; unfortunately, many incidents go unreported. If you think you have been violated while using a ride-share service, the most important step you can take is to confide in someone you trust. Confide in a friend or family member. Seek counselling from a therapist. Talk to a personal injury lawyer. Reporting the incident as soon as you can will help you recount the events in better detail, and it could possible prevent someone else from experiencing the same thing as you.
For a sexual assault case to be filed in criminal court, there needs to be a burden of proof or evidence that the assault took place, beyond a reasonable doubt. Without video recording or DNA evidence this can be difficult which is why criminal charges are never filed in so many sexual assault cases.
There are other means to get legal justice though. It starts with talking to an experienced Personal Injury lawyer.
Matt Lalande and the personal injury Hamilton law office has extensive experience providing representation for people who have been assaulted. Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers understand it takes bravery to bring a sexual assault claim to light. This is why we compassionately offer a complimentary and confidential consultation. If you think you may have been assaulted by a rideshare driver in the Greater Toronto and Golden Horseshoe, we recommend you give us a call at (905) 333-8888, contact us by filling in a contact form or by chatting with our live operator 24/7, who will be happy to set up an appointment with one of our lawyers.