Ridesharing services — Uber in particular — have taken a lot of flak from taxi companies and critics in general over safety concerns. A new study looked into this matter by comparing the driving quality of drivers representing ridesharing companies with taxi drivers and non-commercial drivers. What they found likely won’t be surprising to those who have used both types of commercial transportation: the ridesharing drivers were safer than taxi drivers.
The study was performed by driving analytics company Zendrive, which looked at the driving habits of more than 1000 drivers representing the three aforementioned categories in San Francisco. Passengers were paid to take rides with drivers from ridesharing and taxi services, as well as regular drivers, and collect data on the trip.
The data collection was a two-part deal, with the passenger monitoring the driver for illegal and/or dangerous actions, including things like using a phone while driving, as well as running an app that monitored things like driving speed and movements. The drivers were unaware they were being monitored.
More than 500 rides were taken with ridesharing services like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar; approximately 250 of the rides were with taxis, and the other 250 were with regular drivers. Overall, the study found that taxi drivers are 46-percent more likely to speed than their ridesharing competitors (and 18-percent more likely to speed than an ordinary non-commercial driver).
A category called “unsafe speeding” was also measured, and involved speeding with some other risky action like using a phone. In this case, the taxi drivers were found to be 70-percent more likely than ridesharing service drivers to commit this violation. Not surprisingly, the ridesharing service drivers rated as the least likely to speed among the three categories — 32-percent of the study’s taxi drivers were noted for speeding, while 22-percent of ridesharing service drivers were caught speeding.
The lower instances of speeding and unsafe actions are likely related to the rating systems ridesharing drivers are subjected to, which often require them to maintain a high rating in order to continue operating as a driver for the company.