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Uber sued for promoting unsafe practices with its app

Stay off the phone while you drive.

That's the message that's been repeated over and over to drivers from countless sources, as study after study indicates that cellphones are distracting drivers, causing accidents and killing people.

Texting while driving causes over 330,000 accidents per year and 64 percent of all road accidents now involve a cellphone. Just taking 5 seconds to read a text while travelling 55 miles per hour means that you'll hurtle the length of a football field without actually having your eyes on the road.

Yet, for some people, their income is tied to the apps on their phones—like drivers who work for services like Uber. When a service call comes in from Uber, an app on the driver's cellphone beeps. The driver has only a very limited amount of time to look at the phone, see how far away the customer is, decide if he or she wants to accept the fare and respond. If the driver doesn't do all of that in the time allotted, the fare goes to the next driver on the list and the first driver loses out on the potential income.

It would be far safer for Uber drivers to turn off their apps while they're making a run, but that could easily mean losing out on income as they miss fares that are right around the next corner or seconds away from the drop off point for their current fare.

However, running the app while driving leads to accidents like those that killed a 41-year-old Portuguese cinematographer and film director who was in California. The film director was hit by an Uber driver who was driving and using the Uber app at the same time to listen for fares. A wrongful death lawsuit has been brought against both the driver and Uber on behalf of the film director's 13-year-old son. Uber may be considered responsible for promoting practices it knows are unsafe.

If your loved one was killed as the result of a distracted driver, you may want to talk to an attorney about a wrongful death action.

Source: Hollywood Patch, "Filmmaker's Family Sues Uber for Hollywood Crash that Killed Him," Jan. 17, 2017

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