One of the key issues with ride-share driving is safety.Safety for the passenger and safety of the driver. Both parties can be problematic when pushed into a corner, and on many occasions, passengers are unruly due to their state of mind (drunk, drugs, etc.) and drivers might not be fully equipped to handle some situations. At the same time, some drivers might get up with an issue and carry it to work with them, so it's not a one-sided affair, it is part of the "social contract' that binds people to act sociable to each other at any given moment.
There are also competitive marketing strategies employed by organizations opposed to Uber that try to draw a bad picture of all Uber drivers. The other factor is as ride-share companies grow, they expand into more areas including troubled areas that can produce many "recorded" instances, putting the Uber driver on the show.
Let's analyze the data we have
According to the data provided by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), Taxi driving is a hazardous occupation. The homicide rate of a Taxi driver is about 2,700% higher than the average rate, translated into numbers, during 1998-2007 homicides were recorded between 9 to 19 out of every 100,000 while the national average was 1 out of every 200,000.
One key factor in this is that Taxi drivers deal with cash, and cash always draws attention. Rideshare drivers deal in credit, so there isn't any opportunity for cash gains.
These factors lead us to believe that the issues arising from ride-share driving are more safety issues or driver-passenger altercations that are recorded and posted on social media, while there are very few such attractions, the ones that get posted make a lot of media attention and are always blown out of proportion.
What are the real risks with ride-share drivers
Accident and diffusing problem passengers.
A drivers attention is split between the road, the passenger, and their app. Many drivers are not experienced enough to juggle between the three, and ride-share drivers do not need to pass any driving specific tests the same as a Taxi driver. Rideshare drivers gain their experience on the road, and in many instances, are not fully capable of handling every situation. But then either is taxi drivers or even professional full-time drivers. Unless you pass a long list of courses, drivers will always find themselves at one time or another in an uncompromising situation.
An article presented by the New York Post in August of 2016 painted a bizarre picture. (it makes us ask if its real or if its misinformation) They stated in an article titled With more ride-sharing apps; car crashes are skyrocketing"that during January to August a total of 9,062 crashes were attributed to "black cars." When you do the math for this piece of information you get the following absurd result; 30 accidents a day involving black cars in New York City alone. The question is, what I an accident? This data represents all drivers involved as well as victims and innocent participants in a crash. So, what is needed is a more concise result. It's obvious that the article tended to paint a one-sided picture using the facts in a typical media way.
Sexuality and Ride Share drivers
Two issues are arising from the sex of the driver. If the driver is a female and she’s nice and smiles to a male passenger, especially a drunk one, the passenger being a typical male, might consider this a sexual advance. On the flip side, if a passenger is inappropriate and tries to hit a female driver, he also causes an issue that has to defuse. Female drivers have to deal with these issues more than male drivers, even though male drivers also have an issue when driving a single female passenger that shows interest in the driver.
In both instances, when the driver has to rebuff the passenger they are opening themselves up to instances, the easiest being a low rating, the worst being false allegations and in some instances actual physical contact. This, of course, is true with taxi driving as well ad not just a rideshare issue.
The fact remains that only about 15% of all Uber drivers are women, this attests to the fact that women find the job role less attractive as well as dealing with the male passage, especially drunk ones, as problematic.
While Uber is available 24/7, they do not offer situation counseling and do not provide advice, and they do not provide safety training or any training to help improve the driver's abilities to deal with different situations. One of the reasons that Uber does not provide these services is due to their claim that drivers are "independent contractors" and Uber doesn't want any notion of employer-employee relations coming into the situation.
We suggest that they open UberClass and offer special programs for a fee, making it an academic service for all, nut just for drivers.
Creating a Safe Environment
Uber drivers can create a safe environment if they invest in their cars and features. To start off with, use dash cams, make sure you have a dash cam for the front and back as well as for the interior, and make sure the interior dash cam covers two angles, so you get full coverage.
Uber drivers can carry non-lethal weapons; this is only good for dealing with unruly passengers and only as a final resort. It is much better to be able to diffuse a situation and even better would be to not get into one in the first place.
The best advice is to drive safely, never speed, adhere to all rules and regulations and make sure you are fully covered (insured). Never take on a ride you think will compromise safety even if it does ruin your rating.