The Washington Post reported recently that the rideshare company Lyft will now require that their drivers take a mandatory driver education course. Lyft will also provide a “notification system for potentially dangerous off-track rides.”

The new education requirement is partly in response to concerns about rape and sexual assault by rideshare drivers. One lawsuit claims that Lyft allowed “allowed ‘known sexual predators’ to transport passengers” and then covered up the sexual assaults to protect the drivers. The lawyers in another lawsuit complained that the new changes don’t go far enough to protect passengers.

In response, Lyft is partnering with Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) in the creation of the community safety education. All new hires will be required to take the course before they can drive. Current Lyft drivers will have to take the course within specific time frames.

The notification system will “prompt Lyft to check in with riders and drivers to ask if they need help or even to call emergency services if there are unexplained delays with a trip.” The purpose of checking in is to better monitor drivers for the protection of their riders. The check-in requirements help Lyft understand if riders are being threatened and if drivers are having mechanical problems. Trips that take longer than they should will be registered by Lyft, which will send a message to the driver and passengers to see if everything is okay.

Finally, Lyft is creating an emergency response option within its app that will allow passengers or drivers to contact 9-1-1 in the event that they are in danger.

Holding rideshare companies accountable

When sexual assaults or rapes occur, criminal charges are often filed against the driver, along with civil complaints against the driver. Often, the driver doesn’t have the funds to pay any judgment, which is why litigation against the rideshare companies may serve as a better deterrent to ensuring that these companies put the safety of their users and drivers ahead of their own profits.

Rideshare companies can be held liable to passengers for their pain and suffering and economic losses when they fail to:

  • Run full background checks on its drivers
  • Investigate complaints of sexual misconduct against their drivers
  • Don’t implement reasonable safeguards to protect passengers

The experienced injury lawyers at Larson Law Firm P.C. represent injury victims throughout North Dakota. For help with any car accident or rideshare injuries, call our Minot or Bismarck office at 701-484-4878 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.