Is Uber safe enough for passengers?

Posted by: Laura Wilson

LINCOLN–Last weekend’s shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Michigan—allegedly by an Uber driver, has posed the question: is Uber safe for riders?

Police say the suspect, Jason Dalton, randomly shot and killed 6 people.

Although none of the victims were in the car with him, it has prompted a closer look at how Uber operates.

We spoke with several Uber drivers, who say there shouldn’t be cause for concern in Nebraska.

"I don’t think there’s a way for us to tell who’s going to do that,” said Uber driver Jon Bradford.

“Anybody at the grocery store, anybody at the bank, anything like that, could just snap any time and have that happened.  I think the riders should continue to use the service,” he added.

You may remember Bradford.  He’s the Uber driver who helped rescue an alleged drunk driver from a pond last year.

He says incidents like that are risks that come with the job—something Uber also warns potential riders about.

According to the company’s website, Uber passengers ride at their own risk.

However, Uber does have a 1-million dollar policy that claims to cover riders’ crash-related injuries that occur while taking an Uber.

Drivers are also required to have personal insurance.

Uber runs a background check on each of its drivers—dating back seven years—at the county, state, and federal level.

"Mine took a little while.  I think it took a little over a week, and then I had the thumbs up to start."

Bradford’s neighbor, Gregory Jackson, is an Uber driver, too.

He says despite this tragic event, Uber drivers do a lot of good in the community, too—specifically, keeping drunk drivers off the road.

"I’d say of my 112 rides, I’d say all of them were intoxicated except for about 8 of them,” Jackson explained.

"People say ‘thank you’ all the time.  They’ll say I saved their lives or kept them from getting a DUI.  It’s like when Jon saved that guy that ran into the lake that time.  If he wasn’t out there doing Uber, who knows what would have happened,” Jackson added.

There’s still some grey area in Uber’s 1-million dollar insurance policy.

For example, Uber is not taking responsibility for a 6-year-old hit and killed by an Uber driver in California, because the driver was in between fares.

Uber drivers are encouraged, but not required, to get commercial insurance of their own.