Hiring a Lyft: Uber Safe or Uber Dangerous?

I never once gave a second thought about the safety of me or my friends after deciding to call upon the services of Lyft one Saturday night before a party. No one really thinks much about the fact that the driver is a complete stranger, how his night is going, or how safe of a driver and person he/she is to be around.

I thought since the drivers were hired by companies such as Lyft, Uber, or Sidecar that they would be safe, or safe enough to drive people around without anyone getting hurt. Sure, upon applying for the job, drivers have to pass certain background checks; but these background checks are not as rigorous as the companies claim they are, this according to an article in LA Weekly.

Well a few weeks ago, three of my friends and I were at a party and decided we wanted to go to another person’s house so we called a Lyft. The drive started out normally, as expected, until my friend Nick who was in the front passenger seat decided to get a little bit too rowdy with his dancing, something the driver apparently did not like.

The driver said, “If you don’t chill out then I’m going to pull over and leave you guys there,” which my friend complied to and stopped dancing. Also, the driver didn’t like the music that we chose to listen to so he shut it off and would not turn it back on even when we asked if he could put some music on.

About 10 minutes later, we arrived at our destination. As Nick is getting out he said, “This was the worst Lyft ride of my entire life,” to which the driver responded by getting out of the car and pushing Nick to the ground.

Another one of my friends, Josh, then tackled the Lyft driver to the ground. Vulgar words were exchanged and everyone began to head their separate ways. Then Nick decided to spit on the driver as he was walking towards his car. The driver went into his car and a pulled out a pocket knife.

My other two friends and I immediately intervened and left the scene. After experiencing such a shocking and dangerous incident such as this, I no longer feel completely at ease when using apps such as Lyft, Sidecar, or Uber.

I can no longer go use the service without that thought in the back of my mind telling me that this person, who is driving me and my friends around, could be dangerous. “I would never take Lyft again. It was a traumatic experience and it was really unexpected, I was in shock,” said Anja Ellam, another one of the passengers who witnessed the entire incident.

Just this past September, an Uber driver was allegedly charged with assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury after hitting a customer in the head with a hammer, according to Gawker.

There are many more cases reported regarding dangerous Uber drivers, and even more that are unreported. Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and any other similar company needs to perform background checks that are actually valid to prevent more--and possibly worse--cases, such as the one my friends and I experienced from occurring.

Safety is a justified demand, especially when it is a service people pay for; it only makes sense. Of course, it is an obvious risk a person takes when getting into the car of a complete stranger, but the risk should not have to be so high.