Uber has officially raised the minimum age for rideshare drivers in California from 21 to 25. This substantial change is already in effect, and no new drivers younger than 25 will be approved to transport passengers within the state. The company points to rising insurance rates as the reason for the change.
This increase in the age minimum is not unexpected. Lyft, the rideshare giant’s biggest competitor, has already set its minimum driving age at 25 statewide. However, Uber will still allow drivers 21 and older to work for its UberEats food delivery division. The restriction only applies to drivers who would pick up passengers.
Increasing the minimum driving age may impact more than just the company’s bottom line, though. It could help keep everyone on California roads safer by reducing car accidents. Here’s what you should know about the new Uber requirements, why they’re happening, and what makes younger drivers such an insurance and traffic risk.
Uber Points to Rising Premiums as Reason for Raising Minimum Ages
Young adults are the primary members of the so-called “gig economy,” making up the majority of rideshare drivers. So why has Uber chosen to cut out so much of its potential workforce?
The company has made it clear that rising insurance rates are the cause for its decision. “Uber’s California state-mandated commercial insurance costs [have risen] by more than 65% in just two years. By increasing the age requirement for new drivers to 25, we hope to mitigate the growth of those costs.”
Of course, every driver needs insurance, regardless of age. In California, Uber offers $1 million in liability coverage while a driver is picking up or transporting passengers, as well as lower coverage while a driver is waiting to accept a ride. However, the cost of maintaining any coverage for younger drivers is substantially higher than for older people, even if a third party is paying for the coverage.
How much higher? Depending on a person’s age, it may be anywhere from 50% to 100% more expensive. For example, a review of the average car insurance policy cost nationwide found that a 20-year-old man with a clean driving record pays about $3,536 annually for well-rounded coverage. In contrast, that man at age 25 would pay just $1,964. At 35, the annual cost drops to $1,651.
Uber is entirely responsible for the cost of insuring its rideshare drivers since most individual policies do not cover the time when a driver is working. Clearly, increasing the age minimum to 25 could substantially reduce its overall insurance costs. But why are young drivers so much more expensive to insure?
Potential Risks of Younger Drivers
Insurers don’t set premium rates at random. Car insurance companies calculate their rates for every policy based on information about the driver, the vehicle, and decades of statistical analyses. When an insurer consistently charges a specific group more for the same coverage, it’s because the company determined that the group is more likely to get into accidents.
It should be no surprise that younger drivers are more likely to crash. While fatal accidents involving young drivers continue to decline, they are still substantially overrepresented, according to a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). According to the GHSA director, “Young drivers are the riskiest age group on the road and the reasons are straightforward — immaturity and inexperience.”
In short, younger drivers have spent less time driving and have less life and safety experience than older adults. They’re more likely to take risks like speeding or driving while tired or intoxicated. They’re less likely to know how to drive safely in difficult conditions. They are more likely to cause accidents and put others at risk.
Holding Dangerous Uber Drivers Accountable
Uber’s financial decision to increase the driving minimum age will likely keep other road users safe as a side effect. However, it will take time for the change to become noticeable. The company has grandfathered in all drivers younger than 25 who were already approved for the platform. There will likely still be rideshare drivers younger than 25 until 2027. That means you still may be at risk, whether you’re a frequent Uber passenger or another road user.
However, you can hold dangerous Uber drivers accountable for the accidents they cause regardless of their age. The same policy that caused the company to raise the age range is available to cover your losses after you’ve been hurt in an accident involving an Uber.
The most effective way to hold the driver accountable is by filing an insurance claim with the help of a skilled personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will help you:
- Communicate with the insurance company
- Collect documents about the accident, such as bills, medical records, and police reports
- Submit evidence of your injuries, medical expenses, and other losses to the insurer
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company
- Represent you in court if the insurer attempts to deny or underpay your claim
Get Help With Your Rideshare Accident Injury Claim
If a young and reckless Uber driver has injured you, you can get help. At Fiore Achermann, we are dedicated to representing car accident victims in San Francisco and around California. Our experienced attorneys can help you hold Uber accountable for permitting a dangerous driver to continue working for the company.
Don’t waste time when you’re already struggling. Please get in contact with our skilled personal injury and car accident lawyers today. We can help you determine whether you have a case, understand your options, and choose the best path toward justice. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about how we can support you.