Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare apps have become the chosen method of transportation for thousands of people around the world – including plenty of minors. Uber and Lyft are convenient and affordable ways to get around for those who are too young to drive or who don’t have vehicles. Yet a great deal of misinformation surrounds the safety of minor rideshare passengers. Before you send your child off in an Uber or Lyft, learn the facts about each company’s child passenger policy – and how safe they are for kids.
Do Uber and Lyft Allow Child Passengers?
Yes, both rideshare companies permit child riders if someone 18 or older accompanies them in the vehicle. Uber and Lyft have only recently begun focusing on better accommodations for child passengers. Both companies have guidelines permitting minor passengers to ride within certain limitations and guidelines. While parents are welcome to bring their own car seats to strap into the Uber of Lyft vehicle, this generally isn’t convenient. Instead, Uber (and Lyft, but only in New York City) offer car seat rides.
Uber Car Seat is a feature parent can use when trying to transport young, car-seat-age children. Parents can download the app, select an UberX vehicle, then tap the “car seat” option to find a ride with a car seat included. Uber Car Seat trips come with an added $10 surcharge. Lyft’s surcharge is $8.98. Parents can request vehicles with one forward-facing car seat for a child who is at least 12 months old, 22 pounds, and 31 inches long through both apps. If your child is 48 pounds or 52 inches tall, he or she is too big for the car seat and may use a standard seatbelt.
Uber Car Seat (and a similar service, Uber Family) is available in Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Orlando. The details of Uber’s car seat service state that the parent or guardian who uses the app is “solely responsible” for inspecting the car seat, checking for proper installation, and safely securing the child in the seat. It also states that Uber will not be liable for improperly installed seats or children improperly secured in the seats. This means you may not have the right to file a claim if an Uber/Lyft accident hurts your child.
Age Limits on Uber/Lyft Riders
Minors technically cannot take Ubers or Lyfts by themselves. Both company policies state that account holders must be 18 or older. Uber’s policy states that account holders cannot request rides for passengers under the age of 18 unless the adult account holder will be accompanying the minor during the trip. It is the rider’s responsibility to follow the rules and avoid taking or ordering an Uber or Lyft until the rider turns 18. However, Uber also makes it each driver’s responsibility to refuse rides to underage passengers.
Uber recommends that all drivers decline ride requests if they believe the passenger is under 18 years old. The company asks that drivers ask passengers for photo IDs if they feel the passenger is underage. However, there is no system in place making sure that drivers ID passengers or verify their ages before offering a ride. It is purely up to the driver’s discretion whether to follow the rules.
Your Rights as a Parent
If your minor child takes an Uber/Lyft alone and gets into a car accident, the company may not be liable for damages. It is up to you and your child to obey the rules to qualify for crash benefits from Uber/Lyft’s insurance policies. However, if you have proof that the company or the Uber/Lyft was negligent in some way that contributed to your child’s injuries, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. Talk to a car accident attorney in San Francisco for more information.