What Are the Most Common Causes of Uber and Lyft Accidents in NYC?

The most common causes of Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare company accidents in New York City include distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence, inexperience, unsafe lane changes, and more.

Liability for rideshare accidents is complicated, which is why it is critical to obtain legal counsel as soon as possible after a collision involving Uber or Lyft.

An NYC Uber accident lawyer at Douglas and London protects your rights and negotiates with the insurance company to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Our seasoned attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for car accident victims.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is among the most common causes of all car accidents, and rideshare drivers are more prone to distraction than others behind the wheel. That is because their entire business model relies on using a smartphone in traffic.

Under New York City law, motorists cannot talk or text on any electronic device while driving. Rideshare services mandate that drivers only use their app when the car is parked or legally standing. The law is widely flouted, and especially so when work and income depend on smartphone use.

An NYC Lyft accident lawyer will determine whether the accident occurred when the driver was on or off-duty. If the driver was off-duty, his or her personal insurance policy (rather than Lyft’s insurance) should cover damages such as medical expenses and lost wages.

Driving Under the Influence

Keep in mind that rideshare drivers are independent contractors and not employees of the companies for which they drive. There is little supervision of these drivers, and some may drink or use drugs before working or between fares. There is no regular screening of drivers for drug or alcohol use.

Fatigued Driving

Any Uber or Lyft driver putting in many hours is vulnerable to driving while fatigued. Not only does fatigue affect driver perception and response, it may cause them to fall asleep at the wheel. Research has shown that fatigued driving is as dangerous as driving while under the influence.

While Uber limits the number of hours a driver may spend working to 12, with a six-hour break before the next shift, that is still half the day spent on the road.


Speeding is a factor in a large percentage of car accidents. A rideshare driver hurrying to pick up a passenger may ignore speed limits.

Speeding may result in the driver losing control of the car.

Running Red Lights and Stop Signs

Far too many drivers speed up when the light is yellow, or simply run through a red light or stop sign. The resulting car crashes are often catastrophic. So-called “T-bone” side-impact collisions are a frequent outcome of running lights and stop signs.

Failure to Yield

Failure to yield the right of way is a major cause of pedestrian fatalities and injuries.


Rear-end accidents often occur due to tailgating. New York City’s stop-and-go traffic inadvertently encourages some tailgating. Traveling too close to another vehicle is even more dangerous when the weather is inclement or road conditions wet or icy.

Unsafe Lane Changes

Unsafe lane changes, or improper passing, in city traffic are frequent causes of serious accidents.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Poor vehicle maintenance is the reason for many crashes and injuries. Brakes fail, tires blow out, and even a cracked windshield can disrupt the driver’s sightlines. Keep in mind that Uber and Lyft do not inspect these vehicles, and maintenance is the owner’s responsibility. Uber simply requires a car in good condition with no cosmetic damage.

Inexperienced Drivers

Driving in New York City is not for the faint of heart. It is a tough town for any motorist, especially one with little experience. Unfortunately, drivers do not need a lot of experience to contract with ridesharing services.

For example, Uber allows drivers as young as 21 to work for them. At this age, relatively few drivers are truly experienced.

Contact an NYC Uber Accident Lawyer

If you were seriously injured in a rideshare accident, contact the experienced New York City car accident lawyers at Douglas and London. We offer complimentary consultations and case evaluations. Just submit our online contact form or call or text 24/7 to schedule an appointment.

After our review, we will discuss your options. No payment is required unless you win your case, as we work on a contingency basis. Hablamos Espanol.