Could Changes to Lyft's Decision Process on Safety Put Unsafe Drivers Back on the Road?

Sacramento Rideshare Accident Lawyers | Uber | Lyft

Due to recent changes in safety guidelines by Lyft, drivers who were once banned from the ride-hailing app may soon be getting a second chance to drive again.

In one of many changes that Lyft has made to its safety guidelines in the past year, drivers who previously deactivated from Lyft will now have the chance to seek a review of their case for potential reinstatement.

Based on a new standardized protocol to determine which drivers pose a safety threat to customers, Lyft is also planning to reduce the responsibilities of trained specialists initially hired to make decisions about banning specific drivers from the app.

Lyft says its new driver deactivation policy aims at removing any bias that may be involved in important decisions made around user safety so that the company can establish a new policy on unacceptable behavior. However, many current and former employees and others fear that the changes could enable unsafe drivers to return to the platform.

Safety Policy and Community Compliance (SPCC)

In June, Lyft established a new Safety Policy and Community Compliance (SPCC) team to review the most serious complaints about drivers and provide a “more consistent experience” for users who report negative behavior.

Trust and Safety team members now follow a set of guidelines when reviewing reported drivers and elevate potential deactivations to the newly created SPCC team for them to make a final decision.

Lyft spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna said that although the company will still make decisions on a case-by-case basis guided by the new Lyft driver requirements, “the process aims to cut down on previous differences” and “eliminate the need for critical safety decisions to rest in the hands of individuals.”

Some legal and industry experts suggest that the changes potentially shield Lyft from allegations of unfairness. Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business says, “Removing human nuance around something as sensitive around which drivers are barred or disbarred … is an effort to reduce costs and abdicate responsibility.”

Lyft insists, however, that the amended Lyft policy for drivers reinforce the company’s commitment to customer safety.

Decision Matrix Used by Lyft

As part of the revised Lyft driver safety policy guidelines, the company introduced a new Safety Policy and Community Compliance (SPCC) team to review complaints. The ride-sharing platform also announced the team would make its decisions based on the company’s new “decision matrix.” The company has yet to reveal the criteria of the guidelines but says it addresses patterns of behavior.

Under Lyft’s new system, the SPCC team must follow a set of predetermined guidelines displayed on computers as the staff works on a complaint. Many are concerned that the guidelines could be open to interpretation and create the potential for drivers to maintain their Lyft eligibility until they are involved in an incident that the SPCC deems “more serious.”

The new system also creates a path for previously banned to submit an appeal and be judged based on these guidelines.

New Guidelines for Trust and Safety Team

Since the company’s launch in 2012, Lyft’s Trust and Safety team has served as an added layer of protection for riders and drivers. Lyft says the team operates around the clock to ensure a critical response time, takes reports provided by riders and drivers, and escalates issues that violate the company’s safety guidelines.

After an issue has escalated, an investigation process occurs where the team gathers interviews and data to determine the credibility of the complaint. In some cases, the Lyft Trust and Safety team would then ban drivers from using the platform to ensure the company maintained customer safety regardless of situations where the credibility of a complaint was uncorroborated.

Stricter Safety Policy from Lyft

The ride-sharing company has faced scrutiny in previous years for failing to treat harassment reports from women appropriately. According to a California lawsuit, customers filed nearly 100 assault complaints between 2014 and 2016.

The lawsuit alleges that Lyft didn’t ban any of the accused drivers. The company has since made a number of changes to its safety guidelines before its most recent revisions, including a partnership with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) to implement mandatory community safety education for drivers.

The changes made in June are drastically different than in previous years. Lyft employees received notice that the new Safety Policy and Community Compliance team would create a new review process to examine complaints about drivers to “provide an improved and more consistent experience for cases that may require a permanent deactivation of a driver.”

Lyft spokeswoman LaManna says the changes were made to “elevated standards and strengthen Lyft” as the company strives to ensure rider and driver safety.

Contact Demas Law Group, P.C. for Help after a Lyft Accident in Sacramento

Ride-share apps like Lyft provide a needed service to users, but victims of accidents often have no idea what to do after the fact. Filing claims, collecting evidence, and negotiating with the company can be an overwhelming process.

While many of the laws surround ride-sharing platforms are evolving, the Demas Law Group has been paying close attention to how the justice system is treating these cases. Our up-to-date knowledge, plus our negotiation and litigation savvy, give us the skill set necessary to seek maximum compensation and justice for you.

If you or someone you know was involved in an accident with a Lyft driver in Sacramento, the attorneys at Demas Law Group are willing and ready to help hold Lyft and the driver accountable. With more than 25 years of experience, our team of lawyers consists of tenacious litigators who won’t stop fighting for you until you get the outcome you deserve.

Call us, chat with us live, or request a callback to schedule a consultation with us today.

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