By Pendergast Law on May 5, 2017
No one wants a driver who has been on the road for ten hours straight.
With the emerging rideshare industry changing the way we do local travel, taking Lyft or Uber is a convenient way to get around. Just pop open your app, request a ride, and boom! A fast and friendly trip to your destination. Because both driver and passenger rate each other after the trip, feedback promotes good drivers, passengers, and overall experiences.
But if a driver is working for both Uber and Lyft at the same time, does this lead to more accidents? Will your driver hit a tree after barreling down a mountain road, all the while snoring loudly?
Are Uber Drivers Allowed to Work for Lyft at the Same Time, and Vice Versa?
Yes. In Washington, legislation forbids Uber, Lyft, or any other transportation network company (TNC) from forcing their drivers to sign “non-compete” agreements. Since Uber and Lyft have the same basic requirements, it’s easy to sign up for both — and more practical for someone dedicating an evening to toting delightful strangers around.
A Rideshare Driver Using Both Apps â€“ What’s Wrong with That?
Well, nothing inherently. It depends on each individual driver — and company oversight. Besides the obvious danger of fiddling with an app while driving a two-ton vehicle (known in legal circles as “distracted driving”), there’s legitimate concern that a driver working both apps could rack up major hours — and not take a break.
Drowsy driving is comparable to drunk driving. The AAA Foundation estimated that 21 percent of all fatal crashes in 2014 involved fatigue, tiredness, or lack of sleep. That’s over 300,000 crashes annually.
Uber, officially, limits each “ride” to a four-hour maximum. Lyft, on the other hand, caps “rides” at $200 dollars (in most areas of coverage). But according to Internet info-sharer Rideshare Guy, rides of up to eight hours have been clockedâ€¦with no enforcement from Uber. Lyft passengers can get around the $200 ride cap by the so-simple-a-baby-could-do-it expedient of instantly requesting another ride.
Driving these long hours is tough. Remember, once the shift is done, that rideshare driver still needs to drive on homeâ€¦potentially eight hours away. And that trip may not be logged “officially.”
Even Cab Drivers Can’t Drive Forever, Thanks to Seattle
In Seattle, specific regulations are in place for both TNCs and TNC drivers. Like taxicab drivers, those signing up for Lyft or Uber may NOT be in control of the vehicle for “more than 12 hours spread over a total of 15 hours in any 24-hour period. After that, you must not drive any for-hire vehicle until 10 consecutive hours have passed.”
Thanks, Seattle! Even if a driver is Ubering and Lyfting at the same time, he has to stop operating and take breaks until he won’t kill me by crashing into a tree at the end of a long mountain road. He’s responsible to me and the City if he disobeys — how fast can you say “lawsuit?”
Of course, the company needs to be enforcing this, or they’re just as responsible.
BUT MY LYFT/UBER DRIVER JUST CRASHED! WHAT NOW?
Lucky for you, Washington is on the forefront of TNC regulations. In 2015, law SB 5550 put insurance rules into effect for TNC companies. Besides requiring each rideshare driver to have his own vehicle insurance, both Uber and Lyft have coverage of $50,000 per person bodily injury, $100,000 per accident/bodily injury of all persons, $30,000 property damage EFFECTIVE every single second that app is turned on and driver logged in.
By all means, use your app to report the accident immediately to Uber or Lyft. They in turn will be required to report the accident to the State of Washington. But right after the accident, follow the usual rules: make sure you’re okay, get to a safe place, and call the police. If you want to talk to a lawyer who knows something about Seattle rideshare accidents, call us at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. That’s 888-539-9211. Remember; if your driver starts yawningâ€¦ask for another. Prevention is the best cure.