FRIDAY RIDESHARE ROUNDUP: How Safe (and Legal) is TNC Driving?

By October 10, 2014May 14th, 2020No Comments


5 min read

    5 min read

    It seems like every week presents a slew of interesting rideshare stories but my question is will it ever slow down?  Today, RSG contributor Jack Ross takes a look at the safety and legality of TNC driving.  It was hard to narrow down this week’s list of top stories but we did it, so enjoy!

    Welcome back to another edition of the World of Ridesharing, where the media seems to be tuning in to the fact that there are challenges aplenty in the future for TNCs, not to mention some questions raised about a-certain-company-with-morality-issues that are likely nothing you (or Uber) haven’t heard before, though this batch feels quite necessary for all drivers to keep tabs on.


    What might that be, you ask? For starters, a must-read about your insurance while logged-in driving, Vice News gets interested in ridesharing, local American news crews circle the wagons (I SEE you, Alaska and Florida!), Uber snags a former Lyft exec, Travis Kalanick gets called out, and the Obvious Headline of the Week. Vamos!


    Because When Lyft Drivers Burn Their ‘Staches, It’s Kind of News!

    RIP, pink carstaches.  Wonder if they stole that pic from our instagram?

    Though Debating The Uber/Lyft Driver Policies Re: Hiring Non-Criminals Is Fairly More Important News

    The article has a quote from RSG himself, saying that he cannot recall anyone who has been turned away as a Lyft or Uber driver. Do you know anyone who has been turned down? I definitely do not.

    Obviously, this is of huge consequence on the rider-side, as evidence by Hammergate in SF (I think we just coined a new term! #Hammergate) and many others, but perhaps just as much for drivers, whose colleague pool gets watered down by unfit new hires (not to mention, besmirches the good names of good drivers everywhere). Meanwhile, the Big Guys take the proverbial “it ain’t on us” legal stance. Speaking of…


    “Seriously, It Ain’t On Us,” Says TNCs in Their Terms and Conditions

    Another awesome in-depth report by CNet that concludes, unsurprisingly, that Uber just wants to maximize profits without assuming responsibility for the externalities that occur when humans collide thanks to the app. And that by agreeing to the Terms and Conditions, riders are “giving Uber a free pass — up to death.” Yikes.

    The primary focus is a detailed account of the oft-publicized hammer incident, which draws on many quotes from the victim about what really happened that dark night in San Francisco—and that Uber could be facing a lawsuit if they don’t shoulder the blame. Get well, driver dude.

    Accidents In Driver-Mode, No Pax? DEFINITELY AIN’T ON US

    Extremely worthwhile read from Policy Genius, for all drivers, about the nuisances of personal versus commercial insurance and assuming liability — and the huge gap of driving when logged in to driver-mode, before you pick up a passenger.

    Note: Definitely make sure you get past the half-way point for the amazing and unofficial “Uber Driver Orientation Video” that officially involves a car driving off a cliff.

    Humor aside, tangible takeaways about what you can do to protect yourself and how (gasp!) regulation is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it comes to insurance. Stay safe behind the wheel, y’all!

    A Hater’s Perspective on Ridesharing, from the Washington Post via Chicago Tribune

    Interesting piece with a thesis that society is merely trading one monopoly (Big Taxis) for another, less regulated one (TNCs). Some valid points here – the usual about the real, profit-first-second-and-third interests of TNCs, the lack of environmental gain from ridesharing, etc – that make it a solid albeit somewhat overstated read.


    Another rideshare blog that’s popped up recently with some good info about what it’s like being a Lyft driver.


    An Amazing Recap on HuffPost of Uber’s “Teacher Appreciation” Blog

    The strategic marketing minds over at Uber seem to be a little slow to shift public perception that they are somewhat out of touch; this scathing review of Uber’s push to celebrate teachers who moonlight as drivers for the company. The words “oblivious” and “condescending” come to mind when reading; Obama old-hand David Plouffe is on the clock to start the ball moving on a re-brand before 2014 closes.

    Another HuffPost Piece Calls Out Uber CEO, Profanity Follows

    This is not Travis Kalanick’s most glowing recommendation; but hey, he was named as Vanity Fair’s Top 10 Disruptors, so I don’t think he is overly concerned by rumblings that he is an a-hole. Oh ya, and his company is worth like $20 billion (though this article does say that valuation is bull, too!) Check it out.


    The move – made to spawn more “international growth” – comes on the heels of the new Uber company-man Travis VanderZanden announcing very recently that Lyft was superior to Uber before leaving due to differences with Zimmer/Green in charge. Money talks, homies.

    THE OBVIOUS HEADLINE OF THE WEEK: “Dual Drivers Prefer Lyft Over Uber”

    Important albeit somewhat expected info from a joint Sherpa/RSG driver data study, though in pretty daunting fashion: 62% Lyft versus 23% Uber. Click thru for more stats.


    Drive for Lyft and Get Arrested in Tampa Bay

    Complete with the usual anecdotal quote from an unsuspecting driver who, when confronted by an officer of the law, expresses bewilderment to what he’s done wrong. And yet more proof that the police in Tampa have apparently nothing better to do than deep-cover “sting-ops” to bust the crime syndicate that TNCs have become.

    Be the CEO for Uber and Get A Court Summons in Anchorage, Alaska

    Add the Anchorage City Council to the Germany’s of the world in putting their foot down against ridesharing, complete with a “this is against the free-market!” quote from Uber HQ. These stories may feel like small drops into a ginormous bucket, but no doubt they will keep popping up until some real regulation/national policy/precedent-of-any-kind is formed and agreed upon.

    All she wrote and drove, til next week, y’all.

    So what do you guys think of the week that was in ridesharing and can we please try and get #Hammergate trending?  Oh and if you didn’t catch it, we’re starting to post on Instagram too, so be sure to follow RSG there: @TheRideshareGuy

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    Jack Ross

    Jack Ross

    Jack Ross is a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles. He started driving for Lyft in September 2013 and also drives for Uber and Sidecar.