Syed Muzaffar was only an Uber driver for a month before tragedy struck. Whilst driving, Muzaffar struck a family who was crossing the road back in December 2013 which led to the death of a six-year-old girl named Sophia Liu. Muzaffar also seriously injured Sophia’s mother and her five-year-old brother, Anthony.
Muzaffar was driving a Honda Pilot SUV at the time and was not carrying any Uber passengers at the time. The family then went on to sue Muzaffar and Uber which was then later settled. Uber did argue that because Muzaffar wasn’t carrying a passenger at the time, the tech company can’t be held liable.
Due to the incident as well, most ride-hailing companies also changed their insurance policies to cover drivers who are looking for passengers as well. Recently the courts have convicted Muzaffar of vehicular manslaughter over the incident and will appear before the superior court next month.
Incidences like this is a difficult one to handle because the entry barrier to be a driver for a ride-hailing service is quite low hence many more people can be drivers. There needs to be better regulation concerning safety and insurance that is beneficial for the ride-hailing companies, drivers, passengers and also pedestrians.