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Uber and Lyft drivers willing to drive children without car seats, investigation shows

Posted at 5:17 PM, May 21, 2018

Child car seat laws are in place in order to avoid tragedies. But some drivers working for popular ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are willing to break the law.

A hidden camera, undercover investigation by Scripps station WXYZ in Detroit exposed those willing to risk children’s lives for the price of a ride.

In Michigan, the law is clear: Children younger than eight or shorter than 57 inches have to be in a child safety seat.

First responders say it’s a matter of life and death.

“I’ve watched a child go forward, go into the windshield and have a crushed skull,” EMS paramedic Gary McMenamin said.

WXYZ decided to put Uber and Lyft drivers to the test, to find out just how many were willing to ignore state law and drive a mother and her 2-year-old son without a child safety seat.

Emily Gottschling and her son “Weston” hailed six rides — three to Uber and three to Lyft. Gottschling agreed to be part of the hidden camera investigation.

After calling six different drivers, five of them were willing to illegally take Gottschling for a ride without a child car seat.

“People have gotten in the car and never asked, so we just go,” one driver said.

“If you’re alright with it, I’m okay with it,” another driver said.

A different driver acknowledged the law, then said, “Well, I’ll be careful.”

The last driver would not allow Gottschling into his car for fear if being ticketed. 

During the investigation, the drivers never actually rode anywhere and no laws were broken.

Uber and Lyft both offered statements in response to the investigatiion. 

Uber's community guidelines lay out our expectation that drivers using the Uber app follow all relevant state, federal, and local laws and the rules of the road at all times. Drivers and riders who violate these guidelines risk losing access to Uber.

Lyft passengers are welcome to bring children in the car provided they have the proper car seats that fit legal requirements in their state and city. Safety is our top priority and young children should not be traveling in any vehicle - a personally owned car, a taxi, or a rideshare vehicle - without the proper safety equipment. 

Drivers should know that they have our full support declining a ride for passengers who do not follow Lyft’s safety policies, and their decision to do so will not impact their rating. 

We periodically remind drivers of this policy through Driver’s Digest emails and notifications. We ask that anyone concerned about a specific incident contact our Critical Response Line immediately so we can take the appropriate action.