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Hundreds of Chicago rideshare drivers deactivated for endangering the public

January 22, 2020

When we get inside an Uber or Lyft car, our lives are in someone else’s hands. The stories we hear about rideshare drivers behaving recklessly only builds a distrust among potential users.

One Chicago-area Lyft driver was arrested after he reportedly sexually assaulted a female passenger in 2019. According to WGN, the driver picked up a woman who was reportedly intoxicated. She requested to be driven from Elk Grove to Des Plaines. Instead, the driver brought her to a parking lot where he sexually assaulted her. He then drove her to a parking garage where he sexually assaulted her a second time. The woman escaped and found someone who could call 911. The man was later arrested.

Lyft released the following statement after learning about the incident:

“Safety is our top priority. The behavior described is deeply disturbing and absolutely unacceptable. Immediately upon becoming aware of the allegations we permanently banned the driver from the Lyft community and reached out to the passenger to express our support. We have been in touch with law enforcement to offer our assistance with their investigation.”

Why are Chicago rideshare drivers being deactivated?

WGN obtained a list of rideshare drivers who had been deactivated within the last four years. The list was obtained from the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department through a Freedom of Information Act request. Approximately 472 rideshare drivers in Chicago were deactivated in 2019. Here are the reasons why:

  • Sexual misconduct (which has more than doubled since 2016) — 161 drivers
  • Assault — 36 drivers
  • Drug use — 54 drivers
  • “General public safety concerns” — 145 drivers
  • Traffic collisions — 56
  • Arrests — 16
  • Criminal investigations — 4

In a video, one person tells WGN, “I have friends who will not allow me to travel alone on purpose and will come pick me up instead.”

“The public has a right to know and secrecy about the hardest issues that we face doesn’t make anyone safer,” said Brooke Anderson, Uber Head of Global Safety Communications.

Uber asserted that 99.9 percent of rides occur without incident.

Can I take legal action if I was hurt by a rideshare driver?

Whether you were hurt in a collision or an incident involving sexual misconduct or assault, you are within your rights to take legal action.

Rideshare companies are required to meet specific insurance requirements under Illinois law (625 ILCS 57/). The liability insurance requirements apply from when a rideshare driver accepts a ride request until the ride is complete. This includes:

  • $1 million coverage for death, injury, and property damage
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage of $50,000
  • Contingent comprehensive coverage (which varies from one rideshare company to the next)

Liability insurance, while a driver is waiting for a ride request, must include:

  • $50,000 minimum for death and personal injury per person
  • $100,000 for death and personal injury per incident
  • $25,000 for property damage

To find out which legal options are available to you, it’s best to speak to an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer. The legal team at Coplan + Crane can review your incident, launch a thorough investigation, and help you build a strong claim. To learn more, contact us online for a free case evaluation.