The Uber mobile reservation platform inspired many people to become more social and active. The ease of a personal ride just a few swipes away and the elimination of a financial transaction for the ride has been key to Uber’s success. With its cult following and loyal fan-base, Uber has earned the trust of millions worldwide.

Uber’s brilliance is in connecting passengers to drivers on a personal level. Though many cab companies offer independent contractor status to its drivers, Uber made this distinction much more expressed in its brand marketing. Not only do customers see Uber as a fortunate transportation option, passengers view Uber as a solution to unemployment and reversal of fortune for many drivers who show up.

Passengers can relate to Uber drivers as common men and women who were able to self-employ. Yet during your ride, Uber drivers are anything but common. They are professional drivers who must transport you between locations while following all applicable motor vehicle laws, including those specific to commercial transport drivers.

A Car No Less Than 10 Years Old

Every vehicle authorized for passenger transport under Uber’s umbrella must be 10 years old or newer. Anything older is a violation of Uber policies and safety regulations. This vehicle must be properly insured at all times. (Uber will lease cars to drivers who do not own a vehicle.)

If your driver arrives in a rusted older model or the car virtually drowns you in smoke and fumes, refuse the ride and report the incident to Uber management. Your driver may not be an authorized driver for Uber, and may be using the smartphone of a friend or relative who is a real Uber driver. Or, your driver may be reserving an Uber-leased vehicle for personal use and using their own, older car for transporting Uber passengers.

Always compare the vehicle license plate and the driver’s Real Time ID-check selfie photo provided by the Uber app.

A Seat Belt For All Passengers

Do not ride in an Uber vehicle with broken or missing seat belts under any circumstances. The United States Centers for Disease Control points to motor vehicle accidents as a leading cause of death for people aged 1-54 in the United States. Given such a reality, you cannot afford to skip wearing a seat belt.

If your seat belt is broken or there are not enough functioning seat belts for all the passengers, you have the right to refuse your ride. Even if the vehicle drove away before you buckled up, you can order the vehicle to stop and let you out. Explain politely to the driver the reason for why you’re refusing the ride. Then, as soon as possible alert Uber about the offending driver immediately and request your refund for any distance charged.

A Sober Driver and Alcohol-Free Ride

Uber forbids drivers to consume alcohol during and before shifts. They also do not allow drivers to carry alcohol in their vehicles when transporting passengers. In addition to the smell of alcohol, signs that a driver is under the influence include:

  • Inability to follow directions
  • Driving too fast or too slow
  • Barely making, or missing red lights and stop signs
  • Swerving when crossing lanes and failing to signal
  • Negligent behavior such as blasting music or eating

Riding with an Uber driver under the influence can result in a car accident. As a result you may suffer a serious injury, be killed, or lose a loved one who is a fellow passenger.

The above rights guarantee your safety and keep Uber working for your personal and business needs. Apply the same common sense judgment and safety expectations to Uber as you would to any commercial transportation arrangement. If you feel your rights are violated and you suffered personal injury, verifiable costly losses, or other damages from an Uber ride, consult a respected auto accident lawyer DC trusts immediately.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their added insight into how to talk to your insurance company after an accident.