Is Uber Responsible for a Child’s Death?

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This week was simply a catch up week as I have to make CES videos and post them to TPN.TV. Of course we’re in the middle of the polar vortex and doing anything this week is a lot tougher. iPad365 started back up this week with Call of Duty Strike Team. Also had a great TWIGG last night with Luke Wallace.

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Goodbye iPod?
– The iPod sales are dropping. Everything in an iPod is in an iPad or iPhone. So will this be the last year of the iPod?
 

Geek Smack: BAD UBER: Be Responsible for Your Drivers

Uber is a private shuttle service which has received a lot of criticism for working like a taxi service. The UberX program is where you call up a car from your smartphone and arrange destination and fare all before you get in the car.

I use it a lot when I’m in an Uber area because its easier to get than a cab.

However, over the holidays, UberX driver Syed Muzaffar struck a mother, son and daughter in a crosswalk while waiting for a fare, killing the six-year-old Sofia Liu. Uber initially stated the driver was not part of Uber, only to recant the statement and say the driver was not working for Uber at the time of the accident.

The reality is: Muzaffar was out on the streets waiting for a fare from Uber when he struck the family. Since he didn’t have a fare in his car, Uber is opposing the fact he was working for the company.

Uber made the statement that only their black car service drivers are real employees of Uber. Everyone else is just a contractor, which puts the liability on them. A small caveat in their work model to save the company from full time employment models.

On the other hand – the way it was pieced together was the mother and two children were around the curb of the crosswalk in the tenderloin district of San Francisco. That means the driver had “clipped the curb”, causing the accident. That is reckless driving.

Still, the driver was out in the name of Uber. San Francisco lawyer Chris Dolan has filed a wrongful death suit against Uber. He is challenging the fact that Muzaffar should be considered an active contractor even if he doesn’t have a fare in his car.

It is a responsibility of all drivers – cab or non-cab – to follow the rules of the road. There are too many times where I see rules broken that put people’s lives in danger simply to save a couple seconds. When a tragic incident happens, everyone should take responsibility. If Muzaffar was driving a taxi, the cab company would have taken liability.

Instead, Uber reacted by firing the driver. Not that he could drive right now because he’s sitting in jail. Isn’t it Uber’s responsibility to make sure their drivers are following the rules of the road? Are they planning to make sure this doesn’t happen to another six-year-old?

It really goes to say that if you hire someone, you are responsible for their actions while this person is working for you and take responsibility if they might be doing something that is dangerous. If Muzaffar was logged into the system and set to receive a fare, then he was employed by Uber. Simple as that. Its also sad that Uber would leave him out in the cold. Imagine how you would feel if you just accidentally killed a six-year-old girl.


Geek Smack! is a weekly video show and podcast that comes out every Tuesday evening. Your host: Jeffrey Powers – talks tech news, IT news and geek news for the week. Geek Smack! is ©2013 under a Creative Commons no-deriv license. Captain America and the Avengers! If you would like more information about what is technology, recent news, Geekazine, and Jeffrey Powers, feel free to contact him. Jeffrey Powers does interviews, just ask!

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