The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted drivers are responsible for 424,000 injuries and more than 3,000 deaths every year. Texting while driving, either sending or receiving a text, is the most dangerous type of distracted driving and is specifically prohibited under North Carolina law. This means that law enforcement can stop and cite a driver for texting even if the driver committed no other traffic violation.

How the Law Affects Uber Drivers

distracted driving

Uber is a Transportation Network Company (TNC) that contracts with individual drivers to provide transportation services to those people who need a ride. TNC drivers log into their Uber, Lyft or other company account on their smartphones and indicate they are available to accept a fare. When a text has come in informing them a customer has requested a ride, drivers only have 15 seconds to tap the phone, indicating they received the message and will accept the fare.

During those 15 seconds, drivers must look at their phone, note the location of the fare and decide whether it is one they want to accept. If they do not respond in 15 seconds, they lose the fare and it goes to another driver. The driver loses the fare and the opportunity to make some money.

In some areas, if drivers are logged into the system but fail to respond to several calls in a row, they are suspended and not allowed to drive for the TNC for a period of time. This means drivers must be vigilant about responding to the alerts they receive from their smartphones if they want to maintain their contract with the TNC.

Uber and Liability

There have been a number of lawsuits filed across the nation against Uber and its drivers for accidents caused by distracted driving. From San Francisco to New York, allegations have been made that Uber drivers were at fault for accidents in which people were seriously injured or killed when drivers took their eyes off the road to read the incoming text about a fare. Two major lawsuits have involved pedestrians who were injured or killed when Uber drivers were distracted by their smartphones.

Why You Need an Attorney for an Accident Involving a Uber Driver

One complicated issue that you face if you were injured by an Uber driver who was distracted by his or her smartphone is what insurance company will pay for your damages. Is it Uber’s? The driver’s? An experienced car accident attorney can help you sort through these complex legal issues and assist you in obtaining compensation for your injuries. Contact us at Campbell & Associates for a free consultation.