One of the biggest issues in any family life is logistics. How do we get to school, to work, shopping and entertainment? How do we get to the physician and more than all, how do we get our kids to and from extra-curriculum activities?
While driving our kids to and from is a daily chore, parents try to find all kinds of interesting solutions, such as ridesharing between parents, taxis and public transport, as well as plain old driving them. With the infusion of Uber and Lyft, ridesharing as a profession rather then as a parental duty is now becoming an interesting option.
However, some issues arise when dealing with transporting children. Certain questions arise, such as “who can book an Uber ride for a minor?” and “Can a minor ride alone?”, These are questions that we ask when ordering a taxi too, but the main difference between a taxi and an Uber driver is the fact that a tax is a registered, an official and certified driver working for a register and certified company. Does this mean that a taxi driver is more qualified as a person than an Uber driver? No, it just means that the taxi drivers recognized professional drivers. Having stated this, let’s take a look at ride-sharing and minors.
- Uber rules state that an account holder must be over 18 years old and cannot request a ride for minors unless the account holder accompanies the minor.
- Lyft just states that account holders must be over 18 years old and cannot book rides for minors.
- These rules are quite clear and answer the main question. Having stated this, rideshare drivers do not check the age of their passengers, unless they are obviously under-age. Checking if a sixteen-year-old is underage is not usually done by drivers and most drivers will bend the rules a bit.
Having stated this, should be let minors enter our cars?
As of now, the responsibility is on the account holder. So the account holder must abide by these rules, although if anything goes wrong, the drivers can be held accountable too and might lose their driving rights. However, there are other issues to consider, such as insurance. Insurance doesn’t matter to rideshare drivers transporting minors. Passenger age and type are irrelevant to insurance policies as is well known unless the driver lets a minor it behind the wheel.
To be sure that your company’s policies cover you, and also, to be sure you only transport account holders, here are a few tips for your consideration:
Tip #1: Always have a dash cam operational and recording from pickup to drop-off. When it comes down to who is right, the public and courts will always side with the minor. It is a fact that passengers behavior changes when told that all trips are recorded via the dash cam for insurance and safety reasons.
Tip #2: As parents will accompany their kids, it is advisable to have a spare booster seat in the back. I wouldn’t suggest you keep an infant seat (too bulky) but a booster is easy to place and easy to store. If a parent does ask you to transport a minor unaccompanied, you must refuse.
Tip #3: Whether a parent accompanies the minor, or whether the supposed traveler seems young. Always seat them at the back of the car. First of all, it adds another layer of protection in case of front impacts and secondly, it keeps them out of your reach. Even with your dash cam, you don’t want to be accused of touching a minor, even if it was a reaction to an accident.
Tip #4: Don’t take minors! Not just because it’s a house rule, but because society as a whole is overprotective of their children and this is very good. However, as a driver, it means you are potentially open to the accusation of anything, and sometimes minors can make things up just for the fun of it or out of childish spite. Being accused of something you didn’t do will become magnified, and you will always be guilty even if proven innocent.
Tip #5: When a parent accompanies a minor, and the minor is unruly. Unlike with an adult, all you can do is ask the parent to intervene. You cannot stop the car and tell both of them to get out. Unruly minors are an issue you must seriously consider before taking passengers accompanying minors.
In retrospect, the issue of driving minors is a legal and issue more than an ethical one, since minors travel alone all the time. Rideshare companies state quite clearly that the account holder can only accompany minors and that the account holder must be above eighteen years of age. Once you accept this standard, everything else becomes easy. Two more factors are car cleanliness and ride enjoyment; you will not take any passenger that might, in your opinion, dirty your car or make your ride experience unpleasant. By adhering to a personal code of strict car cleanliness, you will reduce to passenger load extensively, but no one can decide for you who travels in your car. By taking passengers that will sit still and not disturb the ride is more of a fantasy than a reality, irrelevant of the passenger’s age.
Finally, to sum-up, being a ride-share driver means you want to earn more income by becoming a professional driver, as a professional you must accept every customer and every instance and deal with it accordingly. Keeping your car clean, having a quiet ride and not worrying about passengers are all part of the job description.