Companies such as Lyft, Uber, Juno and Via provide many of us with viable ways to get around New York City. It is also a source of income for many individuals. While appreciating the convenience these apps provide, it is important that both drivers and passengers take adequate precautions to ensure that trips are safe. Here are five tips we suggest you follow.
Avoid Illegal Street hails
NYC’s Taxi & Limousine Commission prohibits drivers of rideshare companies from picking up passengers that try to hail a ride. Only yellow and green cabs are allowed to pick up street hails. Besides risking hefty fines issued by NYC or TLC officers, rideshare drivers who choose to engage in this practice put their safety on the line. Passengers who take “gypsy” rideshares also are also at risk. Here are some reasons why you should never hail an illegal rideshare:
There is no system in place to track the identity of the driver or passenger.
There is no meter to track the mileage or duration of the trip, and therefore no way to accurately assess the cost of the ride
Taxis usually have partitions as an added precaution for drivers – most rideshare cars do not have one installed because the identity of the riders is verified through the app.
In the event of an accident, insurance company may decline coverage.
Always Call the Police After an Accident
A driver may not want to call the police for fear of their insurance rates going up, a passenger should then insist to preserve their rights.
A passenger running late for a meeting may not want to wait for the police if the car is drivable, the driver must then insist.
Failure to report an accident to the police can be illegal in some circumstances, better safe than sorry
On busy streets or by crowded venues, there tends to be many TLC plated vehicles around. Between the hustle and bustle someone can easily enter the wrong vehicle. Passengers should make sure that the license plate matches the number that comes up on their phones. In busy areas looking at just the model and color of the car will not guarantee that you enter the right vehicle. Drivers should ask passengers to confirm their names and destination before driving off.
Car seats/booster seats
Although New York State does not require car seats/booster seats in livery cars, it can go a long way in protecting your child should an accident occur. When a child is under 8 years old, putting on a seat belt does not properly restrain them and can cause injuries to a child’s neck in the case of an accident.
Abiding by Speed limits
Often times when a passenger is running late, they’ll ask a driver to speed or do illegal turns.Some drivers may abide with a passenger’s request to ensure they make a good tip or receive a good rating. In NYC it is particularly important to follow the posted speed limits of 25 mph. It provides more reaction time for both pedestrians and drivers. In the unfortunate scenario where a pedestrian is struck, they are half as likely to die as compared to those who get struck by a vehicle traveling at 30mph. In the city where pedestrians are notorious for jaywalking, and dashing across the street with a second left on the light, it can make all the difference.