Rideshare Accident Statistics in the U.S.

As Uber and Lyft have become more popular, you may wonder about the safety of rideshare apps. Read on for key rideshare accident statistics.

When you use a cellphone app to order an Uber or Lyft, you expect to be picked up and driven to your destination without incident.

Unfortunately, rideshare accidents occur more often than you think, and with more people choosing to work as Uber drivers and Lyft drivers, the number of accidents will continue to climb.

This article will discuss some statistics about the use of rideshare services in the United States and the types of rideshare accidents you could encounter the next time you need a ride.

Notable Statistics:

  • As of 2018, 36% of American adults surveyed reported using a ridesharing service before.
  • Uber reported 97 fatal car accidents and 107 fatalities in 2017 and 2018.
  • Researchers believe the introduction of ridesharing is at least partially responsible for a 3% annual increase in U.S. fatal accidents since 2010.
  • The 3% increase attributed to ridesharing has resulted in 987 additional deaths each year.

Uber and Lyft Usage Statistics

Rideshare companies have taken the U.S. transportation market by storm. Since their introduction in 2010, the use of ridesharing services, such as Uber or Lyft, has consistently increased.

According to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, 36% of American adults surveyed say they have used a ridesharing service before. Compare that with a similar study conducted in 2015, where only 15% of those surveyed said they had used a rideshare platform, and one-third of respondents had never even heard of ridesharing.

While the use of ridesharing apps has increased across the majority of demographic groups, usage varies by age, annual income and education level. Just over half of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed (51%) have used ridesharing services before, compared to the 24% of respondents ages 50 and older who have used them.

Fifty-three percent of people with an annual income of $75,000 or greater reported rideshare use, whereas only 24% of people earning less than $30,000 have ever used these services.

Similarly, 55% of those surveyed with a bachelor’s or advanced degree have used ridesharing services, compared with only 20% of respondents with a high school diploma or less.

Types of Rideshare Accidents

In Uber’s 2017-2018 U.S. Safety Report, the rideshare company reported an average of over 3.1 million U.S. trips a day. Uber also shared data about “critical safety incident reports,” which include motor vehicle fatalities, fatal physical assaults and sexual assaults.

Of the trips that occurred in 2017 and 2018, about 98.6% were completed without any incident. The remaining 1.4% of trips involved support requests, usually involving lost possessions and refunds. Of these incident reports, 0.1% involved a safety-related concern, and only 0.0003% of trips involved critical safety incident reports.

It’s important to note that Uber’s self-reported safety statistics only include incidents during a trip when a passenger is in the vehicle or dropped off. They do not include any accidents involving rideshare drivers in between fares.

Uber-Reported Car Accident Statistics

Uber reported 97 fatal accidents and 107 fatalities in 2017 and 2018. The Uber-related fatal crash rate was 0.59 fatalities for every 100 million vehicle miles in 2017 and 0.57 per 100 million vehicle miles in 2018.

Of the people killed, 21% were Uber drivers, 21% were riders, and the remaining 58% were third parties. Two percent of the third-party fatalities were bicyclists.

Notably, approximately 90% of Uber-related fatal car accidents occurred in urban areas. Of the fatal crashes, 30% involved a pedestrian. Eight (25%) of these fatal Uber pedestrian accidents killed drivers or riders who had stepped outside the car.

Uber-Reported Fatal Physical Assaults

There were 19 reported victims of Uber-related physical assaults in 2017 and 2018: eight Uber riders, seven drivers and four third parties. According to the safety report, a fatal physical assault was reported in approximately one of every 122 million trips, or about 0.000001% of Uber trips in America.

Uber-Reported Sexual Assault Statistics

The safety report included the following information about the five categories of Uber-related sexual assaults:

  • Non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part: This category of offense was reported in about one in every 2 million trips.
  • Attempted non-consensual sexual penetration: This category of offense was reported in about one in every 4 million completed trips. Uber clarified that this category includes a broad range of reports, such as attempted clothing removal and incomplete incident reports due to memory loss.
  • Non-consensual touching of a sexual body part: This category of offense was reported in about one in every 800,000 trips.
  • Non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part: This category of offense was reported in one in every 3 million trips.
  • Non-consensual sexual penetration: This category of offense, which is the most serious, was reported in about one in every 5 million trips, which is approximately 0.00002% of U.S. trips.

Importantly, across all five categories, 45% of the accused parties were riders.

Rideshare Companies’ Car Crash Statistics

Somewhat at odds with Uber’s self-reported data, a 2019 study, The Cost of Convenience: Ridehailing and Traffic Fatalities, determined that the introduction of ridesharing services contributed to a 3% annual increase in U.S. fatal accidents. This increase equates to 987 additional deaths each year.

The study was conducted by John Barrios, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business; Yael V. Hochberg, a professor at Rice University; and Hanyi Livia Yi, a Rice student. It analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) accident statistics since the introduction of ridesharing.

NHTSA’s data listed 32,885 traffic deaths in 2010, which was the lowest number of fatalities since 1949. By 2017, fatalities had increased to 37,461. By comparing NHTSA accident data with the dates Uber or Lyft launched in major cities, the researchers found that accident rates significantly increased once ridesharing made its way to a locality.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a rideshare accident, you should seek counsel from a personal injury law firm near you. Most lawyers will offer a free consultation to review the facts of your case and to advise on possible legal remedies that may be available to you.

Amy Grover is a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, then passing the bar exam in 2014, Amy began her diverse career as a practicing attorney. Amy has a range of experience in the legal field, including work with the Department... Read More >>