Thousands of Twin Cities residents use taxi or ride-sharing services every week, and the vast majority of them reach their destinations safely. Companies like Uber and Lyft offer the last word in convenience, but are their drivers as safe and vigilant as an experienced cabbie? The statistics suggest that they probably are. Minor accidents involving ride-share vehicles are not uncommon on busy city streets, but deadly crashes are quite rare. About 1.3 billion ride-share trips are taken each year in the United States, and less than 60 of them end with a fatal accident according to Uber.
Physical and sexual assaults involving ride-share drivers are far more common than deadly accidents, which may explain why almost half of the women who use these services request a female driver. More than 3,000 Uber passengers report being sexually assaulted by their drivers each year, and almost 300 report rapes or attempted rapes. Only about 14 of the nation’s more than 200,000 taxi drivers are accused of assault each year.
Most taxi drivers are careful and experienced drivers, which is why taxi cab accidents are fairly rare. Uber only requires its drivers to have valid driver’s licenses and know how to use navigation systems, which means they can sometimes be reckless. In June 2022, an Uber driver admitted to police that he was showing off to a female passenger when he crashed on Highway 52 in Rochester. The 40-year-old man was charged with three felonies.
Weighing convenience and risk
Ride-sharing services are affordable and convenient, but the statistics reveal that taking a cab is a little less risky. Taxi drivers are involved in fewer accidents, and they are less likely to physically or sexually assault their passengers. The vast majority of Uber and Lyft rides are completed safely and without incident, but taxis are even safer.