Distracted Driving and the Risks of Ride-Hailing Services Like Uber

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Source: New York Times

When a service call comes in from Uber by way of a loud beeping on the phone a driver typically has 15 seconds to tap the phone to accept the fare. That can mean looking at the phone, seeing how far away the customer is and then making a decision. Failure to respond in 15 seconds means the fare goes to a different driver. In some cities, including New York, failure to respond to several calls in a row can lead to Uber’s temporarily suspending a driver.
You need not be a neuroscientist or safety advocate to see the potential for danger when the phone, a potential source of driver distraction, becomes an essential means of transaction. But Uber is not alone, given that a similar system is used by Lyft and, arguably, an even more demanding one is used by a growing number of taxi drivers.