Why is it that most of us will buckle up as a passenger travelling with friends and family, yet rarely buckle up as a passenger in an Uber or a taxi? Uber, Lyft and other rideshare programs have revolutionized the way many of us travel finding it faster and more convenient than it is to drive. Not using a seat belt makes no sense!
While it seems taboo to be an unbuckled passenger in a vehicle driven by a friend or a family member it seems perfectly “normal” to remain unrestrained in an Uber or a taxi. Why buckle up when you are with someone you know and not buckle up when you are with someone you don’t know? Not to mention that buckling up is the law.
Historically, people may have been reluctant to try to put on a seat belt that might be busted or dirty in a decrepit taxi, but nowadays Ubers are typically modern vehicles with perfectly acceptable seat belts.
Those of us with young families must set an example for our children about the importance of seat belt use in these settings. Children who see their parents elect not to use a seat belt as a passenger in an Uber are more likely to do so themselves down the road.
From a legal perspective, a passenger injured in a car accident can still sue an at-fault driver and can collect accident benefits even where they were not wearing a seat belt. However, in cases where wearing a seat belt would have made a difference; the injured person often faces a reduction in their compensation based on their “contributory negligence” associated with not wearing a seat belt. Typically, failing to wear a seat belt results in a 10% reduction (sometimes less or more) in the compensation awarded to the injured passenger.
That said, the main reason to wear a seat belt has nothing to do with legal rights. It has to do with safety.
No one plans for an accident. Using a seat belt is not a burden and doing so will prove helpful if something does, in fact, go wrong.
Next time you use rideshare, put on your seat belt and tell those you are with to do the same. Doing otherwise is an unnecessary gamble.
Darcy Merkur is a highly regarded Ontario trauma lawyer helping accident victims such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, who have sustained catastrophic injuries.
Darcy is one of just two plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers in Ontario recognized as a Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation by the Law Society of Ontario, listed in peer-reviewed publications – Lexpert®, The Best Lawyers™ in Canada and Martindale-Hubbell ®. He is also a partner at Thomson Rogers, one of Canada’s Top 10 Personal Injury Law Firms as selected by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.