Is Uber the New 9-1-1?

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In November 2015, a Grand Rapids, Michigan man was shot and was bleeding heavily. Instead of calling 911, he called an Uber.

Slow ambulance response times and the astronomical service fees that follow, have many individuals taking matters into their own hands, or phones actually. Individuals in need of emergency care are now picking up their smartphones, opening their favorite ridesharing app, and instead of adding their local bar as their destination, users are requesting to be dropped off at the nearest emergency room. Uber, in particular, has responded to this trend by creating a non-emergency transportation application to help healthcare providers, Uber Health.

Distressed people find themselves waiting long periods of time for an emergency vehicle to arrive. These slow response times have caused life-threatening obstacles for many individuals. In 2013, “the city of Detroit had fewer than 10 working ambulances. A 911 caller with a medical emergency was likely to wait 20 minutes or more for help to arrive,” according to the Altarum Institute. In 2014, Detroit had seen some of its worst response times in decades. In January 2014, the average response time of Detroit's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was 18 minutes, as mentioned by, The Motor City Muckraker. But, the article also mentions that in 2015, The City of Detroit saw an increase from 12 to 25 EMS vehicles after Mayor Mike Duggan took office, and started an initiative to improve Detroit’s ambulance response time. The article also mentions that the initiative, which began in April 2015, saw response times surpassing the national average, dropping 10 minutes to 8 minutes and 30 seconds.

But even with improved emergency service response times, many individuals are still choosing ridesharing services over calling 9-1-1. Why? Ambulance rides are expensive! A deciding factor in choosing transportation for many individuals is how much it will cost them. People love Uber for the simple reasons that they can arrive at a destination quickly and without breaking their wallets. And when the price of an ambulance ride to the hospital can range from $600 to $1,000, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, it’s no wonder people prefer an Uber! According to the University of Kansas, “the use of Uber in cities across the country has reduced per capita ambulance volume by at least 7%,” likely because patients want to avoid the expensive ambulance ride with paramedics. The study looked at ambulance rates in 766 U.S. cities across 43 states from the time Uber was made available in the area from 2013-2015.

Although taking an Uber to the hospital may be much cheaper and at times faster, it might not be a medically sound decision to rule out an ambulance. A 5-star uber driver may provide bottled water and your choice of music but ambulances come equipped with trained professionals who provide life-saving care! Also, an emergency vehicle can legally impede traffic to race an individual to an emergency room, where ridesharing services cannot.

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While Uber does not encourage using their services in place of emergency care, they have recognized the need for more efficient and easy to use transportation in the medical sector, and have introduced Uber Health. According to Uber, “Uber health is a technology solution for healthcare organizations that leverages the ride hailing power of Uber platform... the app allows hospitals and other healthcare professionals to request, manage, and pay for rides for others, at a scale.” Healthcare organizations use Uber Health to allow patients to request or schedule a ride to and from their place or treatment, and for staff to get to and from work, 24/7. Uber Health is currently available in the United States everywhere Uber is already available. According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “services like Uber Health could help patients avoid missing appointments because of lack of affordable transportation.”

But it should be stressed again that Uber Health is not an alternative to calling 911, but rather an aid for healthcare providers to arrange higher quality transportation services for patients. Requesting ridesharing services instead of emergency vehicles because of slow EMS response times or hefty medical bills may put injured victims at a higher risk of not getting proper medical attention.


Calling an Uber to go to the ER for a paper cut is a better idea than calling an ambulance. But, taking an Uber to the ER after experiencing a heart attack may not be the best medical decision. No one likes going to the hospital or dealing with piling medical bills. The personal injury attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PC understand the frustration that injured victims feel and help them so they can focus on their recovery. Contact us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

4th of July Travel Safety Tips

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Although the Fourth of July lands in the middle of the week this year, many Michiganders will take time off to travel to their holiday destinations. In fact, according to Click on Detroit, it’s estimated that 1.5 million Michigan residents will be travelling on Wednesday! Whether staying local, crossing the state, or even crossing the country, drivers must be alert when hitting the road on Independence Day. Not only will there be higher traffic volumes, but alcohol will also be flowing in backyard barbecues and picnics. As a result, drunk driving car accidents are highly likely to occur. In fact, according to the National Highway for Traffic Safety (NHTSA), the 4th of July is, “one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to drunk driving.”

The NHTSA also reported that, 146 people lost their lives due to a negligent drunk driver in 2015. Approximately 97 of those drunk driving car crash fatalities occurred in a car accident where the at fault driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 1.5 or higher. That’s “almost twice the legal limit!” When getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, the driver is not only risking their own safety, but also the safety of their passengers, and everyone else trying to enjoy the holiday. Aside from avoiding drinking and driving, listed below are other important driving safety tips drivers should follow, issued by Safety 1st Driving School.

4th of July Travel Safety Tips

  1. Stay in the same place all day if possible. If you’re party-hopping, walk or bicycle.
  2. If you must drive, do NOT drink.
  3. Stay alert and free from distractions at all times, as people, children and animals may be walking around outdoors. That means NO TEXTING, and keep your music low.
  4. If you’re tired, stay put. Nothing’s worth risking your life for.
  5. Avoid the late hours of the night or early morning hours, when people are likely to be driving home and may be drunk or tired.
  6. Observe all speed limits – even slow down a little – and buckle up.
  7. This is a day to be extra alert, patient, and cautious. If you can’t be all three of those, don’t drive.
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As stated by NHTSA, “America’s Independence Day is about freedom. But freedom comes with responsibilities.” The Fourth of July should be a day for celebration, not for regret. Remember, it is never okay to drink and drive. Hot dogs and potato salad may mix, but alcohol and automobiles never do! Even if drivers have only had a little bit to drink, according to the NHTSA, buzzed driving IS drunk driving.

For those over the age of 21, drinking is a fun way to commemorate the 4th of July holiday. If you choose to celebrate with a drink, for your safety and the safety of others on the road, put together a travel plan ahead of time. Drivers have many options, including local transit, taxis, and car ride services. For example, rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft make it easier than ever before to get home safe after having a few drinks. If you’re hitting the road this week, safe travels, and have a happy Fourth of July!


With plenty of Michigan drivers travelling this Fourth of July, the chances for an automobile accident to occur are extremely high. Unfortunately, car accidents are not 100% preventable. However, choosing not to drink and drive is a great start to a fun and safe Independence Day. If you have been in an automobile accident and would like a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney, contact the The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our accident attorneys are here to answer any questions you may have regarding benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan law.

The NSC's Guide to a Safer Driving

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This June, the National Safety Council (NSC)  is celebrating National Safety Month. Each week has a different area of focus, and this week’s goal is to raise awareness on the dangers of driving and to advise on the most effective ways to drive safely. According to the NSC, over 40,000 people were killed in fatal car accidents in 2017 alone! This number is nearly 6% higher than in 2015. It is key that drivers begin to take measures to ensure they are able to come home to their family safely each night.

The first step to becoming a safer driver is eliminating any dangerous driving habits that one might have. According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA), in 38% of fatal car accidents, the driver was drunk. While the number of drunk drivers has been slowly but steadily decreasing, the number of drugged driving is on the rise. Of 44% of fatal car crashes, drivers were under the influence of non-alcoholic drugs, the most common drug used being marijuana. 

These drunk driving deaths and drugged driving fatalities are a shame since all of these car crash fatalities are avoidable! With technology constantly evolving, there are a few simple ways to get back home safely while under the influence. If someone anticipates a night of drinking, they should try to arrange a designated driver. Public transportation is also always available in metropolitan areas; in Detroit, the Q-line is a safe transportation option for drunk people. If drinking in an area without public transportation or finding a sober friend is difficult, the easiest way to avoid drunk driving is to hail a ride with a rideshare app  like Uber or Lyft. A safe and quick ride home is just a push of a button away. Much like driving under the influence, driving while sleepy is another form of impaired driving and can be just as dangerous.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 25 people reported having fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past 30 days! The American Academy of Sleep Medicine discusses a study which shows that about 21% or car accidents from 2009-2103 were caused by drowsy drivers. Drowsy driving accidents can be prevented by getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep regularly, and avoiding drugs or medications that can cause drowsiness prior to driving. As road trip season comes around, it is important to remember to take breaks every 2 hours, or every 100 miles of driving, and if possible, switch drivers. Preventing drowsy driving car crashes is an important way to create a safe driving environment for everyone on the road.

Another common factor in dangerous driving is distracted driving. In today’s fast paced society, it can be tempting to glance down at a  phone notification on the drive to work, or send a Snapchat of a funny bumper sticker on a pickup truck, but it only takes a few seconds of distraction to cause a distracted driving car accident. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA), in the 4 to 5 seconds it takes to read a text message while driving at 55 miles per hour,  the car will have traveled the length of a football field. In today’s busy world, people want to consolidate their time as best as possible, and try to be multitasking experts by eating or doing makeup while driving. However, by pulling over to send a text, eating a Big Mac inside the McDonald’s, or waking up a few minutes early to put on lipstick can create a safer commute for all drivers on the road. Distracted and impaired driving is irresponsible, and preventable. It is each driver’s responsibility to create as safe of a commute as possible.

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The NSC lists some simple safety tips to follow when deciding to get behind the wheel. The NSC encourages drivers to be aware of how a vehicle’s safety features work, as they can vary from vehicle to vehicle. However, the NSC also states that, “you are your best safety feature” as a reminder not to rely wholly on features such as blind spot alerts, as they can miss things and malfunction. Because of car malfunctions, it is important to take all car system alerts and warnings seriously. Ignoring safety alerts can be dangerous, as it can be difficult for people who are not auto experts to identify car malfunctions. While most warnings are for a loose gas cap or a faulty sensor, a check engine light could mean that the vehicle is in danger of catching fire or has low oil. It’s best to allow a professional to inspect the vehicle as soon as possible after the car displays an alert.

Another safety measure the NSC suggests to keep drivers aware of their surroundings is to clean all snow, ice, and mud off of the car prior to driving it. Cleaning the windshields is not always enough. In winter, driving a car with snow piled on top of it can impair the view of other drivers, when the snow flies off the top of a moving vehicle and onto other vehicles behind it. In addition, braking suddenly can cause snow to slide down from the roof of the car and to the hood, obstructing the driver’s view. Ice across windshields and windows can also severely impact the view of the road around the driver. No matter how short the drive, or how how much of a hurry the driver is in, it is not worth the risk of a car accident to drive in a car with obstructed views.

Since so many car accidents are preventable, the NSC has taken the fourth week of June to teach drivers which habits to avoid and which practices to follow. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving while sleepy, or driving with obstructed views are all unsafe decisions that drivers are choosing to make. The NSC reminds us that each decision a driver makes can affect the lives of everyone on the road around them, making it each individual driver’s responsibility to make the right decision each time they hit the road.


Car accidents may be common, but many of them are preventable. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to a negligent driver, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our attorneys fight for Michigan’s injured drivers. 
 

Michigan Helps Lead the Country In Autonomous Vehicle Regulations

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Trying to keep up with the fast-growing autonomous car industry, more than 50 bills have been introduced in 20 states to establish some type of regulation for self-driving vehicles. The Detroit Free Press predicts that autonomous vehicles will transform business models by reducing personal car ownership, restructuring urban and suburban development, and eliminating millions of transportation jobs while at the same time creating many more jobs. Michigan was one of the first states that adopted legislation to make it easier for automakers to test self-driving vehicles on a public road without a driver. Governor Rick Snyder said in December, “We should we proud we’re leading the world, right here in Michigan.” 

Legislation in Michigan also “allows automated platoons of trucks to travel together at set speeds” and “allows networks of self-driving cars that can pick up passengers.” Additionally, Ford’s self-driving Fusions and GM’s self-driving Chevrolet Bolts have been cleared for more testing. 

Michigan is not alone in passing autonomous vehicle legislation. 21 other states and Washington D.C. have also passed legislation or adopted regulations based on a Governor’s executive order. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

However, the lack of uniformity among states may be confusing for owners of self-driving cars and could potentially harm innovation. Chan Lieu, an advisor to the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets (whose members include former Google driverless car project Waymo, automakers Ford and Volvo, and ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft) mentions, “If you had 50 different requirements for 50 different states, each state (might do it) different. It’s going to be very, very difficult to build a vehicle to be effectively sold across the country.” This is all the more reason to distinguish states such as Michigan, as leaders in regulating the autonomous vehicle industry. 

Currently, “states are balancing a desire to be viewed as beacons of innovation while also seeking to protect their residents from technology that remains unproven on a large scale.” Federal regulations, on the other hand, may take years to propose and implement new rules on autonomous cars. This timeline may clash with the fast pace self-driving technology is moving at. 
Car Crash Lawyer Michigan

In the past, individual states have regulated driver behavior while the federal government has regulated the vehicle itself. A House subcommittee was scheduled to meet on June 27, 2017 to discuss several drafts of 14 self-driving bills in Washington D.C. Gary Peters, a US senator representing Michigan, said legislation should be introduced in the next few weeks that will lead to “a complete re-write of federal regulations for motor vehicles when you take the driver out of the car.” US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in Detroit, Michigan last month, that the presidential administration will reveal revised self-driving guidelines within the next few months, in order to “incorporate feedback and improvements recommended by numerous stakeholders.” 

Yet with automakers quickly developing autonomous technology, it will likely be up to individual states to create updated regulations as improvements are made. Safety is the main priority for states looking to support advancements while at the same time minimizing motor vehicle collisions. Jessica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the California Department of Motor Vehicles, said, “We know this technology can save lives. It can mean mobility for millions of people. So we see all the advantages to it, but at the same time we’re tasked with making sure this technology is safe.” 

With Toyota and the University of Michigan collaborating on autonomous vehicles and the US economy preparing for big changes from self-driving cars, it is no surprise that the state of Michigan is heading towards a safe and supportive environment for future technology. In Detroit, major automakers are the backbone of autonomous improvements. USA TODAY Network reports that GM announced the production on 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt test vehicles at its plant in Orion township last month, fulfilling the company’s promise to help maintain Michigan’s leadership in the autonomous car industry. Ford is also among automakers that have proposed to launch a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021. 

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There is no doubt that the Great Lakes State will do innovative things in the coming years as it helps develop and regulate self-driving cars. However, safety is vital when testing new technologies, as even seemingly perfect dream vehicles may put passengers at risk for being involved in motor vehicle crashes. Above all, autonomous vehicles are breaking new ground in the transportation industry, and it will be up to lawmakers-at both state and national levels-to keep up. 


The State of Michigan is the birthplace of cars, and continues to make strides in the automobile industry. As self-driving technology rapidly develops, states like Michigan are working to regulate autonomous vehicles at a similar pace. Safety remains the main priority, as no state wants to compromise the lives of citizens because of a cool car with no one driving it. If you or someone you know has been involved in a severe motor vehicle collision, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Automakers Break Into Ride-Sharing Car Market

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Ride-sharing first became a tech-phenomenon in 2011 when tech-giants, Uber and Lyft, introduced the ability to hail cabs and share rides with friends instantly, through an app available on smart phones. Since then, according to Business Insider, 30% of the U.S. population has reported using some form of a ride-sharing app. Ride-sharing has made transportation fast and convenient, and the industry is only growing as new companies look to break into the market.

However, as Popular Mechanics explains, the sharing trend, as opposed to individuals purchasing and operating their own vehicles, started with car-sharing. Car-sharing became a trend in the automotive industry in 2000 and was popularized by a company called ZipCar, but has just recently taken off since the development of smart phones. Car-sharing allows customers to purchase a membership with a car-sharing service such as ZipCar, which customers can then use along with the company’s website or app, to locate the nearest vehicle, flash their membership card to unlock the vehicle, and then drive the car their reserved time period. While car sharing is very convenient for those who don't own a motor vehicle, it's most common complaint is that most car-sharing companies' customers are given the option to be charged by the day, hour, minute, or mile they drive. Being charged by the minute or mile can get very expensive. However, the positive aspect to car-sharing is that gas and insurance are already included in the fee.

While it was the first to gain popularity, ZipCar is now one of many similar services. Last year, The Michigan Law Firm Blog wrote an article about GM launching its own car-sharing service, Maven. In an effort to become the leading forerunner in personal mobility services, GM acquired assets from Sidecar, a ride-sharing start-up company, in January of 2016 and has also teamed up with the premier ride-sharing brand, Lyft. GM has also broken into the ride-sharing market by introducing Maven Gig, a service that allows drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services to rent Chevy Volts, if they do not have a car of their own, to drive their ride-share costumers in. 

More recently, Daimler and BMW have become the next large automakers attempting to challenge Silicon Valley by designing their own car-sharing and ride-sharing programs. According the The New York Times, Daimler, the makers of the luxury brand, Mercedes-Benz, first introduced its car-sharing brand, Car2Go, in 2008 in Germany, and has since grown to serve about 2.4 million members across 9 countries. 33% of Car2Go members are even located in North America. The Car2Go program has yielded positive results after a 3-year study of 10,000 members done by U.C. Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, which reported that Car2Go service has reduced vehicle ownership and miles traveled in privately owned cars. As a result, greenhouse emissions have been reduced, 2% to 5% of Car2Go members have sold their privately owned vehicles, and 7% to 10% of members have stopped seeking to purchase a vehicle because of the service.

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BMW first launched its own car-sharing service, DriveNow, in Europe in 2011. In December of 2016, it went on to launch its North American car-sharing service, ReachNow. BMW has also been testing its own ride-sharing service in Seattle as well. Steve Banfield, the CEO of ReachNow, explained the company’s reasoning to enter into both car-sharing and ride-sharing markets by stating that “sometimes they (customers) want to be driven, sometimes they want to drive. Sometimes they want the car for several days, sometimes they want the car for 10 minutes.” Banfield further explained that offering customers different ways to move about cities allows the company to study and research the method of transportation individuals prefer to use, allowing the company to become closer to the consumer. Both services also allow BMW to promote their luxury brand by offering temporary rides and mobility to individuals. 

A future with autonomous vehicles is inevitable, so it is important for companies to mold a business strategy that will allow themselves to adapt to a new automotive industry that will no longer require individuals to purchase and operate their own vehicles. BMW has reportedly partnered with Intel to begin production of autonomous cars by 2021, while Daimler and Uber have partnered to start their own creation of self-operating vehicles. These large automakers hope by creating their own personal mobility brands and creating early plans to start autonomous vehicle production, they will be able dominate the market in the future.

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With these car-sharing and ride-sharing programs, it is important to remember that human drivers are still operating these vehicles (that is, until vehicles become autonomous). Therefore the risk of a car accident due to human error is always present. Thus, passengers should always stay alert while riding in a vehicle and follow car safety precautions such as wearing a seat belt.


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a Metro Detroit law firm that handles all types of accident cases. If you or someone you know has been involved in car, bus, motorcycle, or truck accident, call the The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

The Impact of Autonomous Cars on the US Economy

There has been continuous buzz about self-driving cars over the past few years, with successful tests and disastrous accidents alike, being reported in the news. There is no doubt that such a ground-breaking invention will change transportation norms throughout the United States, just as Henry Ford’s automobiles forever changed the way to get around the country.

In fact, Wired reports autonomous vehicles are expected to add $7 trillion to the U.S. economy over the next 35 years, based on data from Intel and research company Strategy Analytics. This is no small number, considering just robotic cars alone could add $2 trillion to the nation's economy by 2050, not even taking into account the current jobs and businesses that will be affected financially. To put these numbers into perspective, $1 trillion could buy about 40 million new cars, according to Kiplinger. But what makes up this enormous number?

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Self-Driving Cars and Jobs

Autonomous cars are predicted to positively influence the economy in the coming years, but their impact will be spread unevenly across sectors. Companies like Google and GM who have invested in making this technology a reality, will see the most money. Then, for the average Joe, the industries that will likely see a rise in job demands include data analysis, IT, and mechanics. Just like our smart phones and credit cards, autonomous cars collect data on a driver's habits, which in turn creates jobs for humans who need to sort and analyze this data. Intel reports jobs in information technology (IT), though they will see a shift from actual discovery of information to the management of machines finding information, will almost double in intensity. Additionally, the number of miles driven is expected to rise, increasing the need for cars, self-driving or otherwise, to be repaired by mechanics. 

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On the other hand, there will also be a decline in jobs, especially for people working in the service industries. Jobs like food delivery and taxi services may no longer be needed with the use of self-driving cars. This brings into effect the concept that Intel and Strategy Analytics call "The Passenger Economy," an idea which places economic and societal value on pilotless vehicles. Essentially, why hire humans to do a job that cars can do on their own? While they profit either way, this is a question that companies like Uber will have to face when replacing human drivers with company vehicles. 

It should also be noted that self-driving cars may create jobs that are still unknown. After all, with new technologies come new jobs the market previously did not anticipate. On the flip side, new technologies could also make jobs that currently exist obsolete. No matter which sectors see an increase or decline in job security, the fact remains that the American economy will still receive an estimated $7 trillion economic boost (or even even bigger-no one can put an exact number on the future!) Just like the Model-T helped restructure city spaces and bring the suburbs into existence, autonomous vehicles have the ability to transform job markets. There are endless possibilities for economic reform.

Autonomous Car Regulations

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Though all the glory of creating thousands of new jobs and boosting the economy sounds appealing, it does not happen without the technology meeting all safety standards first. Which is why, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is not counting their chickens before their eggs hatch. The NHTSA has released the Vehicle Performance Guidance for Automated Vehicles, a document which, "outlines best practices for the safe design, development and testing of automated vehicles prior to commercial sale or operation on public roads." Included in this document is a 15-point safety assessment that requires manufacturers to meet objectives such as operational design, post-crash response, privacy, and cybersecurity before their cars can go to market. Considering that 94% of automobile crashes are due to human error, there is definitely room for technology to advance driver safety. Hopefully, if all autonomous vehicle manufacturers can meet the standards set by the NHTSA, this will be a step in the right direction to saving lives. 

The Future of Self-Driving Cars

What does all this mean for people who are willing to give up their spot behind the wheel and let the car drive itself? (That is a scary thought for a lot of people!) Well, most people want more proof that these cars won't crash and will safely deliver them to their destination before they surrender the wheel. That is why companies who create autonomous car technology need to be regulated to ensure absolute safety in their products and so that consumers are not just paying for the newest trend in transportation. Put simply, this technology needs to save lives and be safer than the transportation methods we already have. Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute said to Consumer Reports that “there’s no way that we as a society would accept self-driving cars that cause the same number of fatalities as humans.” 

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In 2015, there were roughly 35,000 traffic deaths in the United States. Future autonomous vehicles must allow for more safety if they are to replace human drivers. People also need to remember that transportation technology takes years of planning before it can be used in everyday lives, and that for now, only people can drive cars. Testing allows room for development and improvement, but overall “we expect machines to be better than us,” as Pratt said.

Until it's proven that autonomous vehicles are safer than human-operated vehicles, humans need to be careful when driving on the road today. While we may one day be able to sleep while a car drives us around, we have to make sure that for now, we don't fall asleep behind the wheel! Sleepy driving, distracted driving, and drunk driving are bad human habits that can lead to serious injuries and death in the event of a car crash. By following the rules of the road and maintaining good driving habits, people can protect themselves from being involved in fatal car accidents. 

At the end of the day, it is impossible to plan the future or to predict how large of an impact autonomous vehicles will have on the economy or auto law. What we do know is that self-driving cars will add jobs, take away jobs, and, based on how well they are regulated, even save lives. 


Self-driving cars are growing closer to reality than we think due to the rapid development of technology. However, today, we still rely on people to drive vehicles, and as such, following the rules of the road is the best way to stay safe and to avoid motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been in involved in an auto accident, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

New Uber Software Tracks Drivers' Habits to Prevent Distracted Driving

One of the expectations that comes with getting a ride from an Uber driver is that they will be following all traffic laws and practicing safe driving habits. However, that is not always the case, as some Uber drivers have been seen holding the wheel with one hand and their cell phone in the other hand for directions. In an effort to promote safer driving habits for its drivers, Uber has announced a new software rollout which will send daily reports of a driver’s driving patterns back to the company, will remind drivers to take a break before getting drowsy, and will send drivers a message which reminds them not to hold their phone in their hands while driving.

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While Uber has said the measurements won’t be used to penalize drivers, the metrics do track activities that are often seen in some of the lowest rated drivers. “To get the measurements, Uber will track the movement of the phones’ gyrometers and accelerometers to assess the speed and movement of the phone. This raises some privacy questions, especially as Uber still categorizes its workers as independent contractors, rather than employees,” Karis Hustard wrote for ChicagoInno.

While the program will run for two months in only 11 cities across the United States, the company says that it will evaluate after that and decide if it wants to expand elsewhere.

UBER AND DRUNK DRIVING

As we gear up for the end of summer, which is infamous for drunk driving accidents, Uber ran a poll of its users across the country to see how the service interacts with intoxicated driving. 95% of respondents said that Uber helps reduce drunk driving in the community, and an additional 84% said that Uber allowed them personally to avoid drinking and driving. “We’ve seen again and again that when people have a reliable way to get home safely at the push of a button — no matter the time or place —they make safer choices,” Uber wrote on its website. 


If you feel there is even a slight chance you might not be in the right condition to drive, calling a public transportation service such as Uber may save your life and the lives of others. Additionally, if you have been in an auto accident caused by a driver who was impaired or distracted at the time of the accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys will fight to get you the help you deserve. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Study Says There Is No Link Between The Rise of Uber and The Fall of Drunk Driving

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You’ve just spent a night out with your friends, had a few drinks, and need a safe way to get back home. What’s the most popular solution these days?

Uber.

The popular ride-sharing service has become well known across America as the best way to avoid driving home after having a few too many drinks. The company even promotes on their website that cities with Uber have “fewer drunk drivers on the streets.” However, a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology has found no noticeable impact on the number of drunk driving deaths in cities where Uber provides its services.

“Obviously the rise of Uber and Lyft has been incredible, and we were curious about potential implications,” David Kirck, co-author of the study from the University of Oxford, told CNNMoney. To conduct the study, Kirck and his partner Noli Brazil examined drunk driving numbers in the Top-100 most populated metro areas in the United States from 2009 to 2014. The study found that the rise of Uber has not correlated with a decrease in deaths overall or during peak hours such as weekend nights.

Kirck points to a number of reasons why Uber hasn’t helped slow the number of drink driving deaths. First, drunk drivers, who are already not thinking clearly, may not feel like waiting and paying to be picked up, and they like their odds of making it home safe without getting caught (Out of 121 million incidents of drunk driving in the United States, only 1.1 million are arrested). Additionally, there are simply not enough Uber drivers in the United States to make a real dent in the 10,000 people who die every year in drunk driving accidents. While there are hundreds of thousands of Uber drivers working each month in the United States, there are still 4.2 million people who decide to drive drunk every month.

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CNNMoney pointed out that Uber continues to claim its service can help decrease drunk driving, as it often refers to another study that shows a 3.6% to 5.6% decrease in drunk driving deaths in California. “We’re glad Uber can provide an alternative to drunk driving and help people make more responsible choices. Our ridership numbers show that trips peak at times when people are more likely to be out drinking and 80% of riders say that Uber has helped them personally avoid drinking and driving,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.


Kirck offered that companies like Uber can have a more substantial impact in the future. “It will be important to revisit the findings in a few years, assuming Uber and Lyft have even greater presence in the United States and beyond. And if Uber and Lyft can find a way to have greater appeal to drunk drivers, then there is a possibility of bring fatalities down.”


Make no mistake about it: there is NO good excuse for getting behind the wheel while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Not only do you put yourself in harms way, you also endanger everyone else on the road. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in helping victims of drunk driving car crashes receive the help they deserve. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Ride Sharing Apps Won't Decrease Car Sales

 

Recently there has been a rise in online transportation companies like Uber and Lyft. Due to the easy access of smartphones, with one click of a button, people can have a ride to wherever they want. This can eliminate the problems of finding an empty taxi or having to worry about finding parking while driving.

Ride Sharing App

While these ride share companies have proved to be convenient and popular with citizens, many companies have taken issue to them. This is because places like Metro Detroit thrive on the business of car sales. Therefore automotive companies might see Uber and Lyft as a threat. More people taking Uber and Lyft means that people will be less inclined to lease or buy a car. However a couple of studies have recently seemed to disprove this notion

According to a study by Kelly Blue Book people use the ride sharing apps for various reasons. For some people it could be due to city living and the inconveniences of driving a car, while others were reported to only use the apps for their nightlife.That is why the study mainly determined that people that use Uber and Lyft were looking for an alternative to taxis or other public transportation. One way or another, they were not planning on using a car of their own to get to their destination. Moreover, the study determined that 74% of consumers surveyed said that driving is their preferred mode of transportation. 

Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. said that, “While there are numerous benefits to ride sharing and car sharing, our data reveal that owning a car still reigns supreme, with reliability, safety and convenience all being major factors.”

Zipcar

In addition to companies like Uber and Lyft, which are essentially taxis in peoples' own cars, there are also other ride sharing companies. About 5.8 million people worldwide use services like Zipcar, Daimler’s car2go, and Turo. These companies allow car owners to rent out their vehicles to others. Instead of someone being chauffeured around, they can drive other peoples' cars to get to where they want. 

However, that doesn't mean the users of these type of companies don't necessarily want to buy a car either. The Kelley Blue Book did a survey on the habits of these users.

Kelley Blue Book Car Ride Sharing App Statistics

1. According to the survey 81% said that vehicle ownership is more reliable.

2. 76% of these users said that they plan to buy or lease their own vehicle within two years time.

3. 80% thought that owning their own car was safer.

All of this data shows that despite the boom of ride sharing apps, car companies don't need to worry about their sales being affected. Uber, Zipcar, and other ride sharing companies are alternates to public transportation, not to buying or leasing a car. The vast majority of their users are planning on getting a car of their own in the near future.


Having the opportunity to use Uber or Lyft might decrease someone’s chance of getting to a car accident. Nevertheless that doesn’t mean that accidents don't occur. Whether you are driving your own car or using someone else's’ car with Turo, there is always the possibility of a motor vehicle collision occurring. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an car accident of any kind, call the The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

"Taxibots" Could Eliminate 9 out of 10 Cars

Self-driving cars might have a bigger impact on traffic congestion than previously thought. More specifically, autonomous taxis are changing the way companies such as Uber and Lyft want to do business.  A group of transportation experts at the Organization for Cooperation and Development discovered results from a trip in Portugal, which showed that the mainstreaming of self-driving cars will eliminate cars by 90%, acres of land will open up, and will decrease commute times by 10%.

These “taxibots,” as described by the researchers, will be a combination of mass carpooling and UPS delivery intelligence. These vehicles will navigate through cities and match compatible carpool routes based on a mathematical algorithm. Under this type of system, 9 out of 10 cars would no longer be necessary and eliminate the need for public transportation. 

Self Driving Car Accident Lawyer

The evolution of taxibots would also open up large chunks of space in cities, which would allow for more development in downtown areas. The study finds that without the need for individual ownership of cars, a city like Lisbon, Portugal would have around 210 football fields worth of extra space. There would also be significant savings for consumers in the area. The mere presence of parking spaces can increase the cost of construction, which leads to development costs getting passed on to consumers, in the form of steeper prices on goods and rent. A taxibot system would eliminate the need for parking spaces, thereby decreasing consumer costs. 

Lyft Car Crash Lawyer

One of the leading companies looking into driver-free taxis is Uber. The ever-popular taxi service has recently opened a new facility dedicated to mainstreaming this technology, which would completely automate their workforce. General Motors Company and Lyft Inc. will also begin testing electric driver-less taxis for public roads. The Wall Street Journal reported that GM invested around $500 million in Lyft in order to compete with the Silicon Valley minds in a battle to own the driver-less taxi industry. 


Driver-less cars are the way of the future which will virtually eliminate car collisions. For now, drivers must be extra cautious while driving, as accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an accident of any scale, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Accidents can lead to problems down the road, such as trouble paying medical bills, loss of employment, and lingering injuries. Our attorneys can help get you the answers and help you need taking care of these issues. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consulation.