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  1. The advent of the rideshare economy has thrived on its easy and available resources at the discretion of the customer. As expected, with an industry disruption, is the omnipresent demand for increased priority in safety, appearing alongside reports of rapid growth.

    Specific to rideshare, surge pricing tempts drivers to get on the road, as well the ease to go available for some quick cha-ching. When does temptation lead to bad decisions?

    Drivers can be fatigued or ill, and could lead to a dangerous situation, regardless of the situation. How about the elephant in the room, what if the driver could have a legally-termed “under the influence” designation?

    A passenger may know that Uber does not require drug testing, only an online background check for past criminal offenses, as drivers are currently considered independent contractors, and essentially mind their own business.

    Even the regulated taxi industry has been slow to adopt their own requirements on drug testing their drivers, and a recently published article from San Francisco, states the governing body for taxis, the SFMTA, has been knowingly out of compliance on drug testing drivers for decades.

    Playing through the scenarios, would a driver be considered a liability if, for example, they had a glass of wine with dinner, and then went available? What about state-permitted, medical marijuana use … should a driver wait a certain time, before driving? Could some medications be placed on a banned substance list?

    Although a straight-forward blanket policy could be a zero-tolerance one, where the quality and safety of the passenger is paramount, the driver makes the firm decision to stay off the roads when noticing any possible impairment. However, although legal definitions of DUI/DWI varies by state, there is some flexibility to maintain a safe and professional experience, within certain limits.

    The topic of driver/passenger safety should continue forward, as the legal process rages on about driver employment designation, and overall safety of this new transportation experience.

    At this point, individual drivers are on their honor to make the best decision, and the taxi industry slowly adapts to their stated regulations. The end result, hopefully, should provide a framework for driver/passenger safety, on whatever transportation platform the customer chooses.

    As most the choices are up to the driver, customer ratings can generally weed out those offering poor service, over time. Customers, on the other hand, can usually accept an occasional poor experience, usually over navigation or vehicle cleanliness, yet have a low-to-no threshold when it comes to lack of safety.

    A recent TV ad campaign, created for Acura, plays eery music with the safety tester placing life-like dummies into the vehicle, purported of his family, before performing the test. The idea being, if you were to place you most valuable assets into a car, how much of an emphasis would you put on safety? Acura is claiming, you would stop at nothing.

    All things being equal, and drivers further recognizing their most valuable commodities are the customers placing their lives into the driver’s hands, the time is now to establish that the best service, comes from the safest provider. There is a reason why a collection of startup companies have so quickly unseated leaders in an established industry. The simplest explanation is the incumbent lost its way, its voice, and their quality of service degraded.

    As a driver, take a moment, before you plan to become available, and run through a checklist that you have taken care of yourself, to become an alert, courteous and safe driver. Imagine that your most precious items are located in your vehicle, and then envision yourself returning from the day, safe and secure. Are you now ready to become available?

    Sources:
    Uber Growth: https://growthhackers.com/growth-studies/uber
    SF MTA Drug Testing: http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2015/10/21/san-francisco-adopts-alcohol-and-drug-testing-for-taxi-drivers
    US Federal Drug Testing: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/drug-alcohol-testing-program
    Driving Safely: http://www.nationwide.com/driving-safety-tips.jsp
    Self Field Sobriety Test: http://expertbeacon.com/tests-used-determine-if-you-are-driving-drunk/#.Vlt6S1WrQlg
    Acura Safety Humanlike Dummy Ad: http://www.ispot.tv/ad/A7Wl/acura-safety-the-test

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