Anyone who has ridden in enough Ubers has come across a wide variety of Uber driver driving styles. Some drivers crawl painfully slowly through clear roads while others are zipping in and out of traffic and well above the speed limit. The problem with speeding Uber drivers is not only they are breaking traffic laws, but they may also be increasing the risk of an accident.
If you were involved in an accident with an Uber driver and you suspect the Uber driver was speeding, talk to a lawyer about your rights. The Uber driver may not tell you the truth about their speed and Uber and the insurance company may try to deny your claim for damages. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com will investigate your case and work to get you the maximum compensation after an injury accident in Denver. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Uber High Speed and Increase Risk of Injury or Accident
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes.” Speeding can also increase the risk of serious injury or death in a traffic accident. Speeding can impair a driver's ability to safely steer around curves, avoid accidents, and increase safe stopping distance.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three fatal car accidents involved speeding. In 2018, there were over 9,300 speeding-related deaths. In 2007, males across all age groups had a higher rate of speeding in fatal crashes. Male drivers make up about 80% of all rideshare drivers.
For drivers in Colorado, speeding has a greater potential for loss of vehicle control, especially when driving on snowy roads, during bad weather, in unlit areas, or when the road is in bad shape. At a higher speed, vehicle safety equipment like seat belts, crumples zones, and airbags may be less effective than at a reduced speed. Speeding was the second most common cause of fatality and injury accidents in Colorado from 2011 to 2014.
Per Se Negligence for Speeding in Colorado
Speeding in a car accident may be used to show the speeding driver was negligent. In a personal injury accident claim, the negligent party is generally liable for injuries and damages. Negligence can be shown through the driver's breach of their duty of care. Negligence per se can be shown through violating a traffic law when that traffic law is intended to prevent just the type of accident involved.
If the injury victim can show that the driver was violating Colorado's speeding laws and the speeding was a cause of the accident, the speeding driver may be liable to the injury victim for damages.
Colorado Speeding Laws
Speeding laws in Colorado can be based on posted speed limits, presumed limits, and the basic speeding law. Generally, drivers are not supposed to drive at a speed that is greater than reasonable under the conditions. For example, on an icy road at night, the basic speed law would likely be much lower than on a sunny clear day.
The state speed limits may depend on the type of road. Generally, state speed limits in Colorado are as follows:
- Narrow, winding mountain highways, or blind curves: 20 mph
- Any business district: 25 mph
- Any residential district: 30 mph
- Open mountain highways: 40 mph
- Open highways that are not a part of the interstate system and are not four‑lane freeways or expressways: 55 mph
- Surfaced, four‑lane highways that are a part of the interstate system or expressways: 65 mph
On some highways, the traffic limit may have a maximum posted speed limit of 75 mph, such as the toll road portion of E-470.
Penalties for Speeding in Colorado
Under Colorado laws, the penalties for speeding depend on a number of factors, including the driver's speed, and their prior driving record.
- 1 to 4 mph over the reasonable and prudent speed, or over the maximum lawful speed of 75 mph (Class A traffic infraction)
- 5 to 9 mph over the reasonable and prudent speed, or over the maximum lawful speed of 75 mph (Class A traffic infraction)
- 10 to 19 mph over the reasonable and prudent speed, or over the maximum lawful speed of 75 mph (Class A traffic infraction)
- 20 to 24 mph over the reasonable and prudent speed, or over the maximum lawful speed of 75 mph (Class A traffic infraction)
- 25 or more mph over the reasonable and prudent speed, or over the maximum lawful speed of 75 mph (Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense)
- 25 or more mph over the reasonable and prudent speed, or over the maximum lawful speed of 75 mph in a construction zone (Class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense)
- Driving at a speed that is not reasonable and prudent given road conditions (Class A traffic infraction)
- Driving at such a slow speed that the normal and reasonable forward movement of traffic is impeded (Class A traffic infraction)
- Exceeding a safe speed on a bridge or elevated structure (Class A traffic infraction)
Class A traffic infractions generally result in a fine and surcharge. However, Class 1 and Class 2 misdemeanors can result in a fine, jail time, or both. Class 1 and Class 2 misdemeanors may also require paying restitution and performing a number of hours of community service.
Can an Uber Driver Continue to Operate With a Speeding Ticket?
Uber drivers can generally sign up to be a driver and continue working for the company if they have a speeding ticket. However, three or more minor traffic violations on the driver's record in the past three years may disqualify them for driving.
Uber Incentives and Speeding
Uber may claim to hold their drivers to safety standards. However, their Uber driver incentives can incentivize unsafe driving practices like speeding, distracted driving, and drowsy driving. Uber incentives offer bonus pay for things like:
- Completing more trips in a set time period; and
- Completing a series of consecutive trips without taking a break.
The Quest promotion can provide extra pay for completing a certain number of trips in a day or a week. Completing a larger number of trips within a given time period incentivizes completing the trips as quickly as possible in order to pick up the next ride. The driver may not be able to cancel a long trip from Boulder to Denver Airport and may speed through the trip in order to get the next trip to get the bonus.
The Consecutive Trips bonus can give extra money for completing a certain number of consecutive trips in a row without canceling, rejecting, or taking the app offline. The Consecutive Trip promotion often occurs during peak driving times. As Colorado residents know, peak driving traffic can be terrible in Denver. The only way for an Uber driver to complete as many consecutive trips in a row may be to drive recklessly, speed, or drive even when they feel tired and should take a break.
Speeding Accidents Between Uber Drivers and Cyclists
Most car accidents involve another vehicle or stationary object. However, cyclists are at risk of serious injury when they share the road with speeding Uber drivers. One of the problems with speeding and Uber drivers is that the driver may also be distracted by using a map app or the Uber app.
In an accident between a cyclist and an Uber driver, the cyclist almost always suffers greater injury. Even a low-speed accident can result in serious injuries to the cyclist. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injury. Unfortunately, common bike accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI),
- Broken bones,
- Spinal cord damage,
- Soft tissue injuries, and
- Road rash or abrasions.
Speeding Accidents Between Uber Drivers and Pedestrians
Pedestrians can also be the victim in a speeding accident with an Uber driver. Pedestrians crossing at intersections can be hit by a driver who is running a light or failing to make a full stop before turning on a red light. Even if the driver does see the pedestrian in a crosswalk, they may be traveling at too high a speed to safely avoid an accident.
Pedestrian accidents have a much higher rate of fatality than other vehicle crashes because the pedestrian does not have any safety protections in an accident.
Inexperienced Uber Drivers and Traffic Law Training
Uber drivers do not need a lot of experience to start driving for the company. They are not required to take a Colorado-specific traffic law test. Many Colorado Uber drivers learned to drive out of state in California or somewhere else, with different traffic laws. With an out-of-state license, the Uber driver can still transport passengers, even if they do not know about Colorado's traffic laws about U-turns or the speed limits in certain areas.
Denver Uber Driver Accident Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians throughout Colorado who were involved in an accident with an Uber driver. 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.