Distracted driving, drowsy driving, and impaired driving all increase the risk of an accident. However, inexperience can also be a risk factor for accidents, especially when combined with distracted driving or driving while tired. Young or inexperienced drivers can reduce distractions to increase safety. However, inexperienced rideshare drivers who are driving for Lyft or Uber may be at an increased risk for causing an accident because of the inherent risks of rideshare driving.
Inexperienced Uber or Lyft drivers can be a safety risk for their passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and anyone else on the roads in Denver. If you were involved in an accident with a rideshare driver, talk to a Colorado accident lawyer about your rights. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com will investigate your case, handle the rideshare company, and work to get you the maximum compensation after an injury accident in Denver. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Inexperience and Lack of Training
Experience can help drivers understand the rules of the road, how to predict other drivers' actions, and how their car handles in all types of weather conditions. Unfortunately, there is really no substitute for experience. This is one reason why young drivers are subject to stricter limitations in their early years of driving.
Rideshare Driving and Lack of Testing and Instruction
There is no specific testing or instruction requirement to become a Lyft or Uber driver. Generally, if you are licensed to drive in any state, you can become a rideshare driver in Colorado. The training required for Lyft and Uber drivers is very limited and primarily deals with how to use the app, and tips and tricks for driving for the company.
For Lyft, drivers are required to be licensed, be at least 21 years old, and have 1 year of experience as a licensed driver. Uber has the same requirements but drivers under 23 must have 3 years of driving experience. This means that many rideshare drivers are relatively inexperienced and are not required to be familiar with the traffic laws in Colorado.
Some of the drivers may have had their driver's education or training decades ago or in other states, and may have no idea about the traffic laws and rules-of-the-road in Colorado. Inexperience, lack of training, distracted driving, and unfamiliarity with the state's traffic laws can make for a dangerous situation for Lyft and Uber passengers, pedestrians, and anyone else on the road.
Colorado Driving Training
The training and testing requirements for a Colorado driver's license depend on the driver's age. A driver who is 21 years of age or older is not required to get an instruction permit. An adult driver 21 or older can go to the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and fill out an application for a driver's license. A new license requires:
- Proof of identity, Colorado address, and Social Security Number (SSN);
- Pass a vision exam;
- Pass the written knowledge test;
- Have pictures and fingerprints taken;
- Pay the permit fee;
- Get your permit;
- Pass the drive skills test; and
- Pay the license fee.
If you are 21 or older, you do not need the permit for any amount of time and can take the drive skills test the same day to get a license. Drivers may think that the requirements for getting a driver's license in Colorado are burdensome but the U.S. has some of the easiest requirements of developed countries for getting a license to drive.
For example, in Germany, individuals have to be 18 to get a license, take an 8-hour first aid course, have a minimum of 37 hours of instruction, pass a difficult exam that includes questions on car mechanics, costing on average, more than $2,000 total. The additional requirements may be one of the reasons behind a much lower rate of traffic fatalities per distance traveled compared to the U.S.
Teen Driver Restrictions
Teenagers with a driver's permit must be accompanied, in the front seat, by a driving instructor, parent, legal guardian, or licensed driver 21 or older who is authorized by the parents or guardian. For the first 6 months, teens with a license can have no passengers under 21 unless a licensed adult is in the vehicle. For the next 6 months, teens with a license can only have 1 passenger under age 21 while unsupervised.
Teen drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone for any purpose while driving, with exceptions only for emergencies. Drivers in Colorado under the age of 21 are also subject to the state's zero-tolerance policy towards alcohol. An underage driver with any traceable amount of alcohol can lose their license.
Inexperience and Accident Rate Statistics
Teenagers and inexperienced drivers may have a higher rate of accidents and traffic fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. In 2017, 2,364 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 were killed in the U.S., and another 300,000 were treated in emergency departments for car accidents.
Some of the risk factors behind dangerous teen driving include:
- Male drivers (had more than twice the death rate compared to female drivers age 16-19);
- Teen drivers with teen passengers; and
- Newly licensed drivers (especially during the first months of licensure).
One reason inexperienced drivers have a higher risk of accidents is simply that they have not spent much time behind the wheel or experienced adverse driving conditions. Teens are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations and make critical decision errors that lead to accidents.
Driver and Vehicle Requirements for Lyft and Uber Drivers
The requirements for driving for Lyft in Colorado include:
- Valid driver's license, including temporary or out-of-state license;
- Pass a driver screening, which includes driving history and criminal background check;
- Have a smartphone; and
- Be at least 21.
You must be at least 25 years old to drive in the following Colorado cities:
- Colorado Springs
- Resort Rockies
- Fort Collins
- Grand Junction
Rideshare drivers generally need a medical check, vehicle inspection, vehicle registration, and vehicle insurance.
Driver Inexperience with Ridesharing Distractions
One of the biggest risk factors in car accidents in Colorado and across the country is distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver distractions include:
- Visual distraction: Tasks that require the driver to look away from the roadway to visually obtain information;
- Manual distraction: Tasks that require the driver to take one or both hands off the steering wheel to manipulate a control, device, or other non-driving-related item; and
- Cognitive distraction: Tasks that require the driver to avert their mental attention away from the driving task.
Teen drivers are required to be cell phone free while driving. All other drivers are restricted in phone use while driving, including prohibitions on entering in data while driving. However, rideshare apps require drivers to use their phones right before and at the end of trips. Unfortunately, many drivers also use them while driving.
Drivers Distracted by Phone Apps
Lyft and Uber drivers are required to have a mobile device to run the rideshare apps. The typical rideshare driver may use the rideshare apps to do any of the following:
- Making the driver available or active on the app,
- Reviewing rider requests,
- Accepting the fare,
- Directing the driver to the pick-up location,
- Matching up the passenger,
- Directing the driver to the drop-off location,
- Making any en route changes or shared ride pick ups,
- Dropping off the passenger,
- Rating the passenger, and
- Going inactive on the app.
Other apps many Lyft and Uber drivers use include navigation and mapping apps and music apps.
Driver Inexperience and Long Hours of Driving for Rideshare Companies
Inexperienced drivers are not limited on how much time they can spend behind the wheel, even though drowsy driving is another risk factor for accidents. Young drivers and new rideshare drivers may be wanting to put in a lot of time in the beginning of their rideshare days to make money, take advantage of surge pricing, or get their ratings up. Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of drowsy drivers, which can be a dangerous combination when combined with inexperience.
According to the CDC, drowsy driving is a major problem in the U.S. and is estimated to be responsible for up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year. Drowsy driving can make drivers less able to pay attention, reduce reaction time, and affect decision-making.
Denver Rideshare Accident Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented drivers and families in Denver, Boulder, Aurora, and throughout Colorado who were involved in an automobile accident with a rideshare driver. Some accident victims are shocked to find out the rideshare driver who caused the accident did not have a Colorado driver's license, did not know the speed limit in the accident location, or was mapping on their phone when the accident occurred.
Our experienced attorneys understand how the insurance and rideshare companies operate and will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.