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Ride-sharing companies and drunk driving: Know your rights

According to the ride-sharing platform Uber, just under 150,000 people offer their driving services to others within the borders of California. While in many instances individuals are able to safely find rides and arrive at their destinations using the Uber app and online service, some individuals have found reasons to question the safety of the people Uber has cleared to drive.

Though Uber claims to have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving, a review by the California Public Utilities Commission has found that the company failed to properly investigate 151 out of 154 passenger complaints about suspected drunk Uber drivers during a one-year period. In fact, CPUC found that Uber only took investigative steps in 21 of those cases and now the company may face more than $1 million in fines from the state.

Corporate policies aside, the information provided by CPUC suggests that a number of Californians may be put in danger by dangerous ride-sharing drivers each year and that some of those unsuspecting passengers may suffer injuries and losses if their negligent drivers cause them to be involved in car accidents. Drunk drivers put everyone on the road in harm's way due to their dulled reflexes, lack of inhibitions, and inabilities to respond to hazards and changing road conditions before them.

As the victim of a drunk driving accident a party may have the right to sue the drunk driver and any employers or entities for whom the responsible party was operating. Though the facts of each case will vary and no outcome can be guaranteed, in some cases victims of drunk driving accidents can receive costs related to their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other accident-related damages.

Whether a drunk driver is driving for a ride-sharing company, a commercial entity, or only themselves, their victims generally have rights when they suffer harm. To learn more about how a person may pursue their losses through civil litigation, victims of drunk driving accidents may wish to speak with personal injury attorneys.

Source: washingtonpost.com, "California regulator cites Uber, alleging lax handling of drunk drivers," Steve Gorman, April 14, 2017

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