My name is Derek Carr and I’m a reporter with CNET.
I just finished the story about Uber drivers being banned from driving after they say they were falsely accused by riders for doing things they didn’t do.
And researching the article, I spoke to five drivers who told me similar stories.
Three of them were accused of drinking and driving.
All suspect riders were likely motivated to make these complaints just so Uber would give them discounts on the rides.
I also spoke to Uber who told me for safety reasons, they have a zero tolerance policy for driving under the influence.
We’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Uber declined to join In this conversation.
With me now, I have Mr. James Morran, who was a full time Uber driver until December, and Mr. Bryant Greening, an attorney who represents riders and drivers in accident and injury claims.
Thanks for joining me.
Mr. Morran, can you please tell us what happened to you?
It was in the mid month of December, and I’m 76 years old and my eyes aren’t the best.
But sometimes because of the moving of the goalposts with Uber you drive more than you had before.
And I’m assuming it was at night.
I also drove in the morning, but I had a normal shift, I have COPD, I take some medications.
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But I’m a good driver, I mean my driving really is great.
What kind of medications do you take?
I take inhalers, I take various different inhalers, emergency inhalers.
Sobetrol When you have COPD every once in a while you get an event for no reason.
I also take really strong fisherman’s landing lozenges to clear the airways in the sinuses and there is my 16 year old kid says You smell like a drugstore.
Dora, I don’t remember anything happening.
I have no event.
Yeah.
Nobody in the backseat what are you doing?
[UNKNOWN] somebody, I don’t remember, no idea.
And the next morning, I get up, I try and work and I have a note from Uber saying you’ve been temporarily They activated as they go through the process of finding out what happened.
So they did whatever due diligence that they did.
And they came back and I had written them another, I sent you the text right of what I’d written
Yeah
And they came back and said, you are one of our better drivers.
Thank you so much.
Blah, blah blah.
We’ll get back to you.
Later, and they came back and they did that to me.
Because I was assumed to be by an unconfirmed person, that I was under the influence.
Mm-hm.
I have a 13 year old and a 16 year old boy.
I can’t ever drive drinking.
I mean, it’s just ludicrous.
I’ve done 7,000 rides with Uber, over three and a half years.
I’m one of their top riders.
7,000 rides and now because of the climate of The deeper looking into the performance after the disclosures, after the IPO and the transparency that they had to reveal that they had so many sexual events plus so many books, and they’ve been panicking for a long time and they didn’t shut the door.
No matter what you do.
They have no I don’t believe they have any really standard Upon an individual, it’s just like a closed door.
So as of today, you are permanently deactivated, is that correct?
From Uber.
Yeah, and you’re still driving for Lyft?
I actually got a notice today from Lyft saying Thank you very much.
The last week you drove you gave 47 rides, and you had 24 five stars, nothing less.
And you’re ready to lose 5.0 which it has been.
Yeah, you know, no.
I have to drive lift.
I
Now if you’re 76 years old, you got laid off three and a half years ago from your job.
You’re not gonna get hired.
And if you got two kids, you have to work.
This is the only job that I can get.
I will I really appreciate you sharing your story.
And Mr. Greenie I’m curious have you heard similar stories from drivers?
We get calls every single day from drivers who have been deactivated and we find that many of those deactivations are based on false accusations.
We are seeing that riders are using false accusations as a mechanism of getting either free rides or retaliating for petty disagreements.
One of the things that we
Have recently seen is that there is a rise in accusations of drinking and driving when there’s simply no evidence of the driver having engaged in that act.
Mm hmm.
And do you see drivers that will get sobriety tests and still be deactivated One thing that drivers commonly do is drive to a police station after a false accusation and ask for a breathalyzer and even when they submit those breathalyzer results that shows zero blood alcohol content.
A lot of times the companies are not willing to consider that evidence and reinstate the driver.
There is simply no due process in ride share.
So as an independent contractor, a driver can be fired for literally any reason as long as it’s not unconstitutional.
That’s a really important point, because it is true that
You know they can at will fire the drivers without any explanation since they aren’t officially employees.
And that’s that’s that it seems.
What do you think should be happening or what do you think could be a better solution?
As far as these false accusations go?
What could the companies be doing?
Well, safety always has to be the top priority.
If there’s an allegation against a driver, the companies have a responsibility to investigate.
But there’s also a responsibility for fairness and that means getting all sides of the story, collecting evidence and having there be repercussions if they find that a passenger has made a false accusation.
A driver may need to be temporarily deactivated while a company determines whether they were driving under the influence or high on drugs or driving unsafely.
But if it’s determined that that accusation was false, the passenger needs to reimburse the driver for the time off or be permanently deactivated from the platform.
It can’t be a one way street where passengers get to make any accusation that they want.
And the drivers 99% of the time bear the brunt of it.
Yeah.
Can I interject?
Checkg one thing in that?
And I agree with what he’sg saying.
However, oftentimes the behaviour of a driver, May insinuate something to the passenger.
That is not true.
However, the passenger is reacting in his own world.
So I wouldn’t want him to be penalized for expressing his feelings, I think it’s more important that we have some transparency so the accuser and the defendant can have an opportunity to resolve it.
So I spoke to Uber for the story, and it seems that the company Could be caught between a rock and a hard place because they’re trying to make the platform as safe as possible.
And then they’re dealing with these false complaints of companies spokeswoman that I spoke to said that Uber has a specialized team Dedicated to investigating all safety complaints and team representatives, sweet riders and drivers and then take the action that they deem appropriate which includes deactivations.
She said each case is handled individually and they do this with safety at top of mind Part of that is being in accordance with many states zero tolerance laws.
California for example, requires that the companies do this.
And in 2018, Uber got in trouble for not quite following those laws and was fined by the state of California.
$750000 for reportedly not investigating all of the rider complaints about possible drug drivers.
So it appears to be doing its due diligence now How, but as you said, Brian, Uber sometimes appears to take the side of the rider over the driver.
I spoke to Lyft also, and they have a very similar protocol to Uber with the zero tolerance policy.
But they say they also analyze Riders previous interactions with the company to ensure that there isn’t a trend of false accusations or misleading reports.
Well-
So.
I would hope that Uber would do that.
I would love to have Uber call me and say we want to have a conversation with you.
Yeah.
So I really appreciate the two of you speaking to me about this really important issue that is affecting a lot of drivers lives.
And thank you for joining me.
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