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January 24, 2022

Mandy Nolans Soapbox: When Uber hits they don’t miss

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Mandy Nolans Soapbox: When Uber Hits they don’t Miss

Last week an Uber driver ran over my daughter. She only gave the driver one star. Zero stars and ‘Driver ran me over’ wasn’t an option.

It happened like this: my 19-year-old daughter used the peer-to-peer Uber service to meet friends at Trivia at an inner-city Melbourne pub. When getting out of the Uber, she walked behind the vehicle to cross the road and the car backed into her, knocking her to the ground. It happened really quickly, and before she knew it she was under the back of the vehicle, managing to bang on it with her hand as she went down to alert the driver.

In the process of falling under the vehicle she injured her foot. The driver got out of his car to check she was okay. Having just been hit by a car my daughter pulled herself up and started moving across the road. The driver took this to mean that she was fine and left. My daughter then collapsed crying onto the footpath unable to move. She was taken to hospital where she was assessed and treated for a broken foot.

That’s about the most eventful Trivia night she’ll ever go to. She may require surgery. We’ll find out next week. She is now in pain, may have ongoing issues with her mobility, and can’t work thanks to an injury incurred by a driver working for a company who claim no responsibility for such an incident.

You see, Uber is just a ride-sharing app. When you use Uber you are only using their app. I guess if the app backed into you they would be responsible. When you use Uber you are riding in a person’s own vehicle, not a commercially registered and insured one. That’s part of the reason that Uber rides are cheaper: you pay less for more risk.

There is no phone number to ring Uber once you have been run over. You have to go in to your profile and make a comment on your trip, like ‘Driver ran me over’. Uber then promises to be in contact. And they do make contact. Eventually.

When my daughter got hit by the Uber she rang me on the way to the hospital to tell me what happened. I told her that after the hospital she needed to make a police report. She needed the driver details. I assumed that as she has used an Uber that they still exist in the app trip history.

When she’s at the hospital she rang me and told me only the driver’s first name was there. The registration of his car, which was available while waiting for the ride, had disappeared. Once he pulled away from the kerb where my daughter later fell in agony, his registration details vanished into the Uber accountability abyss.

When Uber finally contacted my daughter they wouldn’t provide driver details. So I got her to forward the number that they contacted her on. This is not a number you would find with any Google search. It’s a number for drivers only. I persist pushing numbers until I get a human.

I’m angry. Really, really angry. I say, ‘An Uber driver ran over my daughter’. The operator says, ‘I am sorry that happened to her’. He says it with the same tone you’d use when commiserating with someone who left their phone on the back seat. Or dropped their coffee.

‘I am sorry to hear that happened to her’ has that tone people use when they do Non-Violent Communication classes and learn how to deflect anger by directing it it back on the complainant. It’s not an apology. It’s a standard corporate deflection of blame and culpability.

I am informed that owing to ‘privacy’ regulations Uber cannot release driver information without the driver’s consent. Without the driver details my daughter can’t complete her police report.

The faceless robots at Uber tell us that by law my daughter should have got the details at the scene of the accident. Hmm, maybe when her head was under the number plate she should have got on to Snapchat? Instagrammed the shit out of his muffler? Days later Uber relented, admitting that owing to the seriousness of the incident, here are the driver’s registration details!

There’s a reason that taxi fares are higher than Uber fares: taxis are a regulated and heavily insured industry. While Uber means you can estimate your car arrival times, routes, and streamline payment, it has the lightest form of consumer protection. But hey, on the upside you can use your app to watch your Uber back over you. Until it drives off, never to be seen again.

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  1. Sad to hear about your daughter. Uber has a funny notion of engagement. They call their drivers “Partners” And like the very creepiest type of partner they refuse to give you their contact details, they communicate only from “noreply” emails and only talk to you when they feel like it. And if you want to talk to your partner at Uber you do so via a call centre somewhere in Asia.
    They have a lot to learn about treating “riders”and “partners” with respect.

  2. In Queensland Uber cars and drivers are registered the same as taxis and have commercial insurance. In this story I think the driver and passenger share equal blame.
    Its dangerous to walk behind an occupied car because you do not know if the driver has seen you. I tell my kids to cross at the lights.
    The driver obviously did not check behind him properly.
    Nice hatchet job on uber anyway.

    • Peter Peter Peter,

      The driver ran over his passenger and then drove off. Uber’s T.O.S. agreement declares that they take no responsibility for the safety or anything else regarding the service provided by the driver THAT THEY contracted and approved to use their app. How can anyone even remotely find 1 per cent of blame for the victim in this case ? Any driver is responsible for his vehicle and any damage or injury it causes. Uber makes you sign away your common law rights in order to profit from a system that should be totally illegal. Shame on you sir.

  3. Interesting comment Joe. I’m guessing that if your mechanic stuffs up you won’t service your car again?? Kind of narrow minded isn’t it?

  4. Sorry to hear about your daughter and I refuse to use Uber …they are not cheaper …they have sudden surges ….give you a three minute text warning to accept the ‘we’re very busy and have to put the price up beyond any taxi fare you’ve ever paid before ‘,knowing you have no choice …

  5. I think the Taxi industry has long needed a shake up as the pricing has been sky-rocketing and service quality has been very lacking. I believe Uber, Lyft and others have been a good wakeup and welcome competition to the taxi industry. That said Uber has a responsibility to ensure that they comply with the laws of the country/city in question. If the police report was filed with the transaction details for her ride the police would be able to get a court order for the registration/drivers information. Additionally the police could canvas for CCTV from the area where she was hit and/or route taken.

    I hope your daughter is recovering well, I too have a broken foot and know how difficult it is to move around.

  6. You think a generic Indian man using another generic Indian man’s licence and you can’t even read is any more accountable?

  7. The driver should definitely be held accountable if at fault, but as an Uber driver myself it’s so frustrating when passengers get out of the car and walk right in front of you or behind you when you’re trying to leave. Sounds like the driver should’ve been more careful, but we all make mistakes. Driving off without making sure she was ok is the worst part.

    A little courtesy and common sense / road awareness goes a long way.

    Oh, and taxis suuuuuck. Also, if you had this same experience in a taxi would you be able to track down who the driver was? Unlikely. Lucky this was an Uber trip or you’d never have got the drivers details.

  8. Hey Peter Luke and Bob, not sure what your outlook on life is , but this is a pedestrian impact involving personal injury …. full blame to the driver, even more so because he was reversing, a situation clearly identified in every state of this nation as a give way to All vehicles and pedestrians.

    Don’t try to excuse the inexcusable !

    To Mandy Nolan …. This is a police matter and needs to be reported ASAP.

    You may, after that want to bring it to the attention of your local MP, especially if they are non government.

    The driver and the vehicle have both been licensed and approved by your state government !

    Trust the machine and it will deliver ! If you want it dealt with properly, and this guy off the road, you must activate the “system”

  9. Sean says “Also, if you had this same experience in a taxi would you be able to track down who the driver was?” Id say every chance Sean. Taxis have markings livery, numbers etc and if it was phoned up all details are recorded. Why did the Uber driver’s details disappear until Uber was pressed for them?

  10. Typical parent blame everyone, how about look left right and left again. Step out behind rushing uber taxi crank driver etc and expect the worse as they have limited vision. most drivers are stumped by changing lanes and indicating at the same time. Advice to pedestrians think!!!!


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