It is not only Uber drivers who are guilty of breaking traffic laws and causing accidents. Drivers violate traffic regulations all the time. Most of the time, drivers get away with it if the police or Colorado State Patrol does not catch them. However, it is not as easy to get away with a traffic violation if it is responsible for causing a car accident.
There are inherent risks of being an Uber driver in Colorado. Some of those risks may make Uber drivers more likely to break traffic laws, which can lead to accidents for other drivers, passengers, and even cyclists.
If you were involved in an accident with a Uber driver, talk to a lawyer about your rights. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com will investigate your case, deal with Uber and the insurance company, and work to get you the maximum compensation after an injury accident in Denver. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Does Violating a Traffic Law Make Your Responsible in an Accident
After an auto accident in Colorado, liability for the accident is generally based on negligence. Negligence can be shown through a driver who breaches their duty of care, which causes damage. However, negligence can also be presumed when a driver violates a traffic law that causes the accident, or negligence per se.
A driver may be presumed to be negligent under negligence per se where a driver breaks a traffic law or regulation, the law was intended to prevent such an accident, and the violation caused the injury or damage to the victim. Once the injury victim shows the other driver was negligent per se, it is up to the other driver to prove that they were not driving negligently.
Example of Negligence Per Se
Under Colorado Revised Statute § 42-4-802(4), “whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.”
Driver A stops at an intersection to let a pedestrian cross the road. A Uber driver comes up behind and does not notice the pedestrian. The Uber driver honks at the other driver, who is still waiting for the pedestrian to cross. The Uber driver passes the stopped vehicle and hits the pedestrian.
In this case, the Uber driver may be per se negligent because there was a law against passing cars stopped for a pedestrian, the Uber driver violated this law and hit a pedestrian. The law was intended to prevent this type of accident and to protect pedestrians crossing the road. The Uber driver would likely be found to have negligently caused the injury to the pedestrian.
Colorado Traffic Violations and Car Accidents
Uber drivers, just like other drivers, may violate multiple traffic violations without any consequences. Driving with an expired registration may be a traffic violation but it is not likely to cause any injury to others on the road. However, certain traffic violations are more likely to lead to an accident, which include:
- Driving too fast for weather conditions,
- Failure to slow down in construction zones,
- Speeding in school zones,
- Failure to yield to pedestrians,
- Failure to yield right of way,
- Passing a school bus with flashing lights,
- Not signaling a lane change,
- Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign,
- Texting while driving, or
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Uber Drivers and Traffic Violations in Colorado
While any driver can violate traffic laws and cause an accident, there are certain traffic violations that Uber drivers may be more likely to commit. In some situations, it is difficult for Uber drivers to avoid breaking traffic laws as they go about their job.
One of the few requirements to be an Uber driver is to have a phone or mobile device that can run the Uber app. Much of the training is focused on using the app, instead of training drivers on Colorado's traffic laws. Using the Uber app as a driver often means violating Colorado's mobile device and driving law.
Under Colorado Revised Statutes § 42-4-239, “a person shall not use a wireless telephone for the purpose of engaging in text messaging or other similar forms of manual data entry or transmission while operating a motor vehicle.”
Most people who have been in an Uber see the driver using the app while operating the motor vehicle. Uber claims to require drivers to wait until they are stopped safely on the side of the road to use the app but, in reality, Uber drivers use their phones regularly while driving.
A driver may go active on the app while driving, accept a ride while driving, map the ride while driving, modify the route while driving, and initiate the drop off while the vehicle is still moving. These may all be violations of the Colorado texting-and-driving law.
The purpose behind the texting and driving law is to reduce distracted driving. Distracted driving in Colorado is a big problem and continuing to grow. The law is intended to keep drivers focused on the road and not on their phones. The law is also intended to keep other drivers, passengers, cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians safe from distracted drivers.
Accidents Between Uber Drivers and Cyclists
Cyclists can be seriously hurt or even killed because of a negligent Uber driver. Distracted driving is among the most common violations that cause accidents with cyclists. Drivers who are looking at their app or maps are not checking their blind spot for cyclists. Other causes of accidents between rideshare drivers and cyclists include:
- Failure to yield right of way,
- Following too closely,
- Improper passing, and
- Reckless driving.
In an accident between a cyclist and an Uber driver, the cyclist almost always pays a higher price. A low-speed crash can still cause serious injuries to the cyclist, even when the rider is wearing a helmet. Common bike accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Road rash
Inexperienced Uber Drivers and Lack of Training
The limited “training” required for Uber drivers does not teach Colorado traffic laws or test drivers on their knowledge of the rules of the road. Some of these drivers may have gotten their driver's training or license in another state or not had a driver's test for 10 years or more. Many Uber drivers on the roads in Aurora, Westminster, or Littleton may have no idea about the traffic laws and rules-of-the-road in Colorado.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Uber drivers who carry passengers around Colorado are responsible for knowing the rules. If an Uber driver violates a traffic law, which causes an accident, the driver should be held accountable for the damage caused.
Denver Uber Driver Accident Lawyers
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented drivers and families throughout Colorado who were involved in an accident with an Uber driver or those injured as an Uber passenger. 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.