A Tragic Accident in Schoharie, New York
On October 6th, 2018, a stretch limousine crashed just north of Schoharie, New York killing 20 people, including the driver, all 17 people in the limo, and 2 pedestrians. The New York State Department of Transportation had known about the issues with the car, previously ordering the car to be removed from service. The owner did not comply and now is facing 20 counts each of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. This was both a tragic and preventable incident that the owner of this company will pay for.
One reason that investigators were able to piece together the details of what happened that terrible day was because the vehicle has been regularly inspected and was subject to strict guidelines. In this case, they also know exactly to what extent the owner modified the vehicle and what safety issues were being ignored to keep this limo in service.
Properly Tagged Cars are Regularly Inspected
Car Service and Limousine companies are always under a microscope by the NYSDOT to ensure that cars are safe and that drivers are responsible and are not a threat to passengers. In order for cars to be able to carry T&LC or Livery license plates, they have to be inspected twice per year. Additionally, drivers have to be background checked, and drivers may be pulled over for random inspections at any point on the road by the NYSDOT.
We would hope that all car services are being held to this standard. This way, we know that cars are being inspected and if anything happens, such as the Schoharie incident, the state has a paper trail a mile long to be able to hold the appropriate people accountable. In New York City, Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are held to the same standard as other taxi and car service companies. Outside of the city limits, this is not the case. In order to make it easier for people to participate in the Sharing Economy, drivers, and cars working through Uber and Lyft, it has been decided at the local level that drivers do not have to obtain T&LC or livery plates. They also do not have to get their cars inspected twice per year, and the background checks that are done are only against local databases. This means that if a person committed crimes in Florida, California, Montana, or anywhere else outside of this immediate area, those crimes will not necessarily show up on the background check.
Long Island Uber and Lyft Drivers are not Properly Background Checked
In Schoharie, the owner acted purposefully to keep an unsafe car on the road and it led to 20 people losing their lives. When a car that you ordered through your app pulls up, you have no idea when the last time that car was inspected. You have no way of knowing what that car’s history is and even the car’s driver may not know of a serious issue lurking under the hood. As for knowing who your driver is, with the lack of real background checks, anyone who gets into a car by themselves is taking a risk with their life and safety. We hear from people who, instead of getting into their car and picking up kids from a friend’s house, they send over an Uber. Do you know who you just tasked with driving your underage child home?
Problems with the Sharing Economy
These are serious issues with the sharing economy. We see how people who are being held accountable still try to get around the system to the detriment of the people. When it comes to Uber and Lyft, they know they are not being watched as closely as others who drive for a living, so there is no incentive to put the extra money into car repairs and/or background checks. There is always going to be the thought that even though brakes are metal on metal, they can get away with one more day or one more ride. How would you like to know that the “one more day” is the day the car pulls up in front of your house?
Rideshare Car Accident Attorney Marc S. Albert has the Experience you Need
We have been working on a multitude of cases over the last year that involved accidents with Uber or Lyft. Having an attorney who is experienced in litigating ridesharing cases is often critical to the ultimate success of the case. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident or issue related to Uber or Lyft, please feel free to call the Law Offices of Marc S. Albert. Marc is well versed in the laws regarding rideshare services and will fight for the compensation you deserve.