As a college student, I am out a lot of nights going to the bar. I always take an Uber or Lyft home because it’s much safer than me driving. The problem is that I have come across more than one driver who seems to have a drink or two of their own.
I live in a college town, so a lot of these drivers are partying and getting behind the wheel afterwards.
What can I do if I think that the driver is drunk?
Uber drivers, like anyone else who works, often break the rules. But when the driver is meant to get you home safely, it’s completely unacceptable for him or her to drink and drive. You're not trying to die before getting to your destination.
"Between August 2014 and August 2015, regulators with the California Public Utilities Commission reviewed 154 passenger complaints. Regulators claim that out of those 154 complaints, Uber only investigated 21 cases by contacting just 50 of the drivers accused of drunk driving. Reports showed that Uber failed to investigate or suspend drivers in at least 25 cases, even though many drivers had three or more prior complaints," explains Ankin Law Office.
Ask the driver to pull over before it’s too late and the driver crashes. It's your right to get out of the vehicle, and even if you have to pay for the short trip, it’s definitely worth the expense.
One passenger, Katie Gallion, recalls a time when the driver was clearly intoxicated. The driver ended up driving in a ditch and then continued driving. She asked him to pull over, and while he seemed to be defensive at first, he did let Katie out of the vehicle.
She called the cops to report the driver, and that should be your first course of action, too.
If you only get out of the vehicle, the driver can continue driving drunk and may kill someone in the process.
Uber also has its own reporting system, and this system will often allow you to have a refund for your ride. The company is likely to call you to discuss the events, and will not be able to tell you information on whether or not the driver was suspended.
The company claims that the reason for not saying what action was taken is to “respect the privacy of all users.”
Uber claims to have a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol abuse. The company, if they do follow their own policies, should suspend the driver from the platform for good.
Passengers are encouraged to escalate the matter through law enforcement so that they’ll be able to have the authorities take action against the driver. In the case of Gallion, the driver did take another ride that night before he was arrested by the police.
If an accident does occur and the driver was drunk, you should take this time to contact a lawyer and sue the driver. You may be able to name Uber in the lawsuit, especially if the company has ignored previous complaints against the driver.