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Drunken Assault During a Lyft Ride

Posted by Jeremy Rosenthal | Aug 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

Just last week, we wrote about some of the dangers facing Lyft drivers when riders do not want to comply with the COVID-19 mask requirements. Drivers have been yelled at and spat upon. Last month, we wrote about the fatal stabbing of a Lyft driver by the passenger in Arizona. A new video has been released of a drunken Lyft rider knocking down a plastic barrier and choking the driver. 

Drunken Attack by Florida Lyft Passenger

Many Lyft drivers put up cameras in their vehicles. This can record rider interactions and accidents. The Flagler County Sheriff's Office in Florida released video footage showing a Lyft driver attacked by a drunken rider. On August 1st, just after midnight, 36-year-old Travis S. Smith, a friend, and the friend's son were catching a Lyft ride. 

The Lyft driver had put up a plastic partition between the passenger area and driver section of the vehicle, as a way to protect himself from COVID-19. Smith commented on the plastic barrier, saying how he really liked how it sealed up the vehicle. The driver said he got it on eBay. Smith seemed to doubt the driver, questioning whether he really did it himself and asking if he got it off Amazon. 

Smith called the driver a liar and asked again where the driver got the barrier. The interior light goes on and the driver asks Smith if he opened the door. Suddenly, Smith tears down the plastic barrier from the back seat and reaches over, putting the driver in a chokehold. Smith and the passengers get out of the car and run off. 

According to the Sheriff, “This drunk attacked an innocent driver and put numerous lives in danger.” Smith was charged with battery and child abuse for putting the child in danger while attacking the driver in a moving car. 

Drinking and Riding Safety

Uber and Lyft riders who have had a few drinks are not rare. Many people use the ride-hailing services specifically because they are drinking and want to get home safely, without the risk of a DUI or drunk driving accident. However, impaired passengers may present a greater risk of injury to drivers. 

Riders and Passengers At Risk of Assault

In the past, the focus of physical and sexual assaults involving Lyft and Uber were on the attacks against riders. After all, in 2019, Uber issued a US Safety Report, which reported 5,981 allegations of serious sexual assault between 2017 and 2018, including 464 counts of rape. The majority of these assaults were against the passengers by drivers. However, it is clear that drivers are also at risk of assault. 

Lyft and Uber both require background checks to approve drivers. However, there is no system in place to check on the criminal history of riders. A driver picking up a Lyft rider may have no idea that the rider is a violent felon or registered sex offender. Uber and Lyft leave drivers unprotected and try and deny responsibility in any assault. If an Uber driver is injured or assaulted in an accident, they should consider talking to a rideshare injury attorney instead of just accepting Uber's terms. 

Lyft Drivers Injured in Denver  

The attorneys at have successfully represented Lyft drivers and passengers in Denver, BoulderAurora, and throughout Colorado who were injured during a Lyft ride. Do not let Lyft dictate your options. Our experienced attorneys will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

About the Author

Jeremy Rosenthal

Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is dedicated to helping his clients seek just compensation for their injuries regardless of the lengths he has to go to or the distances he may have to travel in order to get it.


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