Toronto Proposes Mandatory Safety Training for Uber & Lyft Drivers

If you live in downtown Toronto, chances are you use ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft. According to a recent report from the city’s licensing staff, ride-hailing trips account for roughly 3 per cent of all journeys in Toronto. Since Uber debuted in the city several years ago, Torontonians have taken more than 90-million app-based rides. With ride-hailing apps so popular and ubiquitous, it falls on personal injury lawyers, municipal politicians, and other advocates to consider their effect on road safety.

It’s difficult to prove that these flourishing services have led to an increase in traffic deaths or serious injuries (although some researchers have tried). What we do know is that Uber and Lyft drivers have been involved in several high-profile accidents, including one that resulted in the death of 28-year-old Nicholas Cameron last year.

In response to calls from safety advocates like Cameron’s mother Cheryl Hawkes, the City of Toronto’s licensing staff has proposed reforms to Toronto’s ride-hailing rules, including mandatory safety training for all Uber and Lyft drivers. The proposal has received positive attention from personal injury lawyers; Hawkes told the Toronto Star that it is “a very good start.”

“It’s a social responsibility to at least put … people through the hoops of qualifying to be on the road with loved ones in the back seat,” Hawkes said.

The city-accredited safety-training program would cover safe driving; sharing the road with pedestrians, cyclists, and transit vehicles; serving customers with disabilities; and anti-racism.

Other reforms would include ‘increasing the minimum driving experience for drivers from one year to three, rewriting requirements for use of in-car cameras, mandating that hand-held devices like phones be securely mounted in vehicles, and introducing measures to prevent customers from dooring cyclists,’ the Star reports. These reforms would bring the city in-line with New York, Chicago, Montreal, and other cities that require safety training for ride-hailing drivers. They would also reverse the city’s decision to scrap safety training for conventional taxis in response to Uber’s emergence in 2016.

With Torontonians unlikely to abandon ride-hailing apps anytime soon, the city’s decision to mandate safety training is a good one. As more Ubers and Lyfts fill Toronto’s already congested streets, it will be critical for drivers to understand and follow the rules of the road to limit injuries to pedestrians, cyclists, other drivers, and their passengers.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision in Toronto, contact Will Davidson LLP to learn how we can help. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers has been handling car accident claims for decades and can provide valuable advice as you consider pursuing legal action.

Image credit: SounderBruce/Flickr

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