We are always hearing about parents angry with drivers refusing to take their kids unaccompanied, or drivers refusing to take babies without a proper child seat. This is not enforced, and on some occasions can lead to issues. However, the reason they are mandatory is to protect the passenger as well as the driver in instances, where accidents lead to fatal injuries.
This is the sad and unfortunate case of a young 19-year-old female passenger that was killed this week in a to car collisions that involved one driver running a red light. As of yet, police have not ascertained which driver was at fault.
The Uber driver is a 33-year-old woman from Ventura; her passengers were a 19-year-old man and woman. Both the passengers were exchange students residing in Santa Barbara, and they were picked up by the driver in her blue Hyundai Tucson SUV at 1:30am on March 30th. They were driving west along Hollister when the accident occurred, the oncoming vehicle was a Toyota Camry and was driving northbound on Storke. The Camry was driven by a 24-year-old woman and had a 19-year-old male passenger and a 16-year-old female passenger neither were seriously injured.
The young woman was not wearing a seat belt, and the impact threw her out of the vehicle, and she died of her wounds later in hospital. The young man as slightly injured. Neither of the passengers was wearing a seat belt. The oncoming car driver and both passengers were only slightly injured.
The law is quite certain about seat belt usage, and Uber drivers cannot hide behind the letter of the law. Vehicle Code Section 27315 states that it is mandatory for all passengers over the age of 16 will wear a seat belt on a highway. The law does exempt taxicabs, but Uber is not classified as a taxicab and has been fighting this classification. Therefore, Uber drivers cannot claim this, unless they want to be regulated as taxi drivers and buy a medallion to operate.
Kayla Whaling, one of Uber's media relations executives, released a statement "We are saddened to hear of this horrible tragedy."
It saddens the heart to hear of any death, especially those of young people. The necessity to wear seat belts is not to hinder people during a ride. They are there to protect us, and it is important that all Uber drivers maintain mandatory seat belt requirements at all time. It's like I always tell my passengers, I am not worried about myself, I know I am a good driver, I just don't know if the guy in the other car is drunk, on drugs or an escaped convict on the run. Its better not to take any chances, and the last thing I want to do is look into the eyes of a mother, husband, daughter, or brother of a passenger that died in my car while I was driving it. Buckle Up and be safe.