Are Uber Drivers Allowed To Hold A Lethal Weapon?


(Harry) #1

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In some unusual circumstances, rideshare drivers have to find ways to protect themselves, on one occasion a Lyft driver was banned from working with Lyft after she used a stun gun on a passenger that refused to leave her car. While Lyft prevents their drivers from carrying non-lethal firearms, Uber does not, and the question us what are the methods than an Uber driver should use before deploying a weapon.

A quick review of the literature

The reference we used in our introduction is a female driver working with Lyft. She has no video recording (remember the dash cam!) but here is her version of the story, and it is quite a familiar story to all rideshare drivers.

It was the last night ride; she was driving two drunken passengers to their destination when one of them vomited in the backseat. So far sounds OK, right? Well not for her, the second passenger suddenly and unexpectedly demanded a damage fee for his friend, which led to an immediate escalation of the situation. (We don’t have any recordings to note how they escalated). After a few minutes of arguments, she demanded that the passenger exit her vehicle and even shouted: “get out of my car” twice. The passenger acted intimidating and hovered over the driver from his back seat. She then claims to have warned him that if he didn’t leave she would taser him and pressed the taser for sound effects. The sound of the task scared the passenger out.

What do we learn from this

One of the biggest issues with unruly passengers is how to defuse a situation, or even make sure the situation doesn’t arise in the first place. Another issue is the options opened to the driver which included placing a 911 call, which by itself should have diffused the situation.

Pulling out any weapon is a final resort and only if truly threatened by the obvious excess use of force or against other’s use of a weapon.

Since there is no recording, neither video or audio, it is the passenger’s word against the drivers and again, the use of a weapon, even if not used but only presented for use, is a final straw that Lyft is not prepared to condone.

That is why a dash cam is so important. You will also note that more and more police departments are adding body cams too, because the best evidence is direct video feed.

Now for the real question:

Do rideshare drivers need protection?

First of all, let’s categorize drivers by physical and professional attributes;

Fit males and females with knowledge of martial arts are the top physical specimens and most probably don’t need any weapons, their self-confidence comes from their abilities and belief in their combat capabilities.

Unfit males and females without any fighting experience are perhaps at the lower end of the physical and professional scale for protection.

Everyone else falls in-between. Most, in fact, is in between these categories. So, now let’s look at options for drivers to consider to bolster their confidence.

  1. Negotiation courses
    These courses aim the driver with superior talking abilities, enabling them to try and diffuse situations as and when they occur. Negotiation courses are taken by lawyers, arbitrators and professional purchasing and marketing negotiators.

  2. Self Defense Courses
    Even if you are not a rideshare driver, its good to take at least one self-defense course I, not two different styles. Krav Maga and Judo or wrestling are perhaps the best combinations since they combine both street fighting as well as defensive tactics that use the weight and balance of the target as an offensive weapon.

  3. Nonlethal Weapons
    Stun guns, pepper spray, Mace and scent-based sprays are non-lethal weapons; each one is used for different scenarios. A stun gun can be used in close quarters, pepper spray and mace in open spaces and the so-called “skunk” sprays that leave a long lasting smell are all applicable, but are they necessary?

  4. Dash Cams
    Dash cams are perhaps the best preventative solution, always tell your passengers that all rides are recorded for security reasons to assure both the passenger and driver of any collision or issue that might arise within the car.

  5. Quick Dial 911
    Rather than use a weapon, dial 911 and just give the coordinates of where the car is and what the situation is, and if the driver knows where the nearest cop shop is, drive to it.

  6. Preventative Measures
    The best situation is a controlled situation. Rather than rely on instances where you will have to use quick thinking and clever wits to extricate yourself from a sticky situation you don’t get into it in the first place.

Choose your passengers well, if you see a drunken or unruly passenger, file for a no-show, it’s better to have no income than a damaged career or even worse.

Install dash cams, have quick dial 911 and prepare yourself personally with self-defense and negotiation courses. Ride-share driving is professional driving, the differences between a taxi driver, chauffeur and a rideshare rider are just in the legal contracts binding the driver to the company in which they work. Ride-share drivers take on the same passengers and face the same realities that all professional drivers face on a daily basis.

Conclusion

Uber does allow for its drivers to carry non-lethal weapons for use in emergencies and personal defense. So, if you are registered to both Uber and Lyft, remember, don’t take the weapon with you if the Uber rides are slow and you decide to operate the Lyft app. Once you do, that weapon is a major obstacle in your job safety.


What could get Uber Drivers Deactivated and How to Appeal and Reactivate Account
Did Uber driver pull a gun on complaining passengers?
Randolph Tolk, an Uber driver, killed in NY
(Mitchel) #2

Here is the simple fact. Uber/Lyft both have a “no weapons policy” but they aren’t vetting the pax at all. They have no legal responsibility to ensure your safety so they simply don’t care if you end up dead. Taxi drivers, which we basically are one, are one of the most likely professions to be killed, even higher than convenience store clerks or cops. Therefore it behooves you to protect yourself in any way possible. If your state allows a concealed handgun license by all means, get one. Carry a gun, preferably at LEAST 9mm or larger, ON YOUR BODY, not in your purse, and not in a glove compartment. Keep it hidden because a passenger turning you in will get you deactivated, but deactivation vs dead is a no-brainer. You are still alive to get another job.


(Harold Young) #3

I doubt Stan would be inclined to endorse my comment about this, but I think it worth mentioning that there are non-lethal projectile & alternative weapons available too - often for much less expense, minus official taser weapons… just in case you’re not actually interested in killing someone over a $10-ish ride :neutral_face:

That being said, I’m in total agreement of the right to self-defense and choosing yourself over an assailant if need be, so I don’t mean to undermine anything Stan’s mentioned beyond that.


(Mitchel) #4

Yes, but the downside of revolvers are more bulk, fewer rounds, and only relying on the mass of the weapon to absorb recoil. It is a trade-off. Statistically for trained cops, 60% of shots miss their target in a gunfight due to Adrenalin and the “fog of war”. If you have 6 shots and at least three of them miss, and there is more than one assailant, you might well find yourself up a creek.

The first rule of gunfight in is, bring a gun. Unless you want to look like batman and his utility belt, non-lethal weapons will get you killed, they ROUTINELY get cops killed.


(Harold Young) #5

Right, but they also often encounter much more demanding situations than I would daresay any of us would likely face tactically-speaking.
Either way, I don’t disagree with you fundamentally, I’m just mentioning it for anyone who might be interested.

Not trying to argue :wink:
To that effect, however, I suspect most people don’t want to be shot any more at close range by a decent CO2 pistol than they do by a legitimate firearm - and, as mentioned, the CO2/air-soft option is probably going to cost a lot less and not require the certifications and all that in most cases.


(Mitchel) #6

please don’t take what I’m saying wrong, but in that situation, split seconds count. You don’t have time to go through a decision tree. Secondly a gun should NEVER be a prop, or a threat. That is how you go to prison at a minimum or dead when the other guy calls your pellet gun bluff with the real deal. They should never know you have a gun till you draw and fire. Brandishing it counts as assault with a deadly weapon. The law on this is fairly convoluted and what they show on TV and movies is so far from reality as to be dangerous. I appreciate your attempt to help, but bad advice in this instance can be deadly. It isn’t like telling somebody to reboot their computer because the mouse stopped working. The danger of a bad outcome really doesn’t exist.


(Jose Hernandez) #7

We are talking about in or close around your car right. accuracy is not the first concern. lethal with 1 round and knock down should be primary goal. Separation the second goal, Get away from the danger/person causing the threat. If they are in your car and you shoot them with a 9 mm or a .380 unless you are very lucky or very good you won’t stop them with 1 or 2 hits. My advice is get the biggest caliber you can handle, practice early and often. Spend some money on practice ammo, then some more money on hollow point or expanding ammo while driving. Find a good place in your car and practice your draw getting your gun into action quickly and smoothly is as important as anything else. shoot for center mass and get away as fast as you can.