As of August 2023, Uber has officially raised its minimum driver age for rideshares in California. According to the massive rideshare business, it has opted to increase the minimum age from 21 to 25 to mitigate rising insurance rates. The increase will not affect the Uber Eats portion of the business.
This increase aligns Uber with its biggest competitor, Lyft, which already requires all drivers to be 25 or older. According to the company’s spokesperson, “Uber’s California state-mandated commercial insurance costs [have risen] by more than 65% in just two years.” By raising the minimum age for drivers, it hopes to mitigate the growth of insurance costs moving forward.
The change could be good news for Uber passengers. Younger drivers face higher insurance rates because they have a statistically higher chance of causing accidents. While the risk is greatest with drivers under 21, it is still higher for people 21 to 25 than for older age groups. By raising the minimum age for its drivers, Uber may also be making things safer for riders.
The change is not perfect, though. The rideshare giant made it clear that current drivers younger than 25 would still be permitted to work with the company. As such, it will be at least four years before all rideshares are operated by people over 25.
Until then, you may still be at risk of an accident because of a particularly young rideshare driver. Here’s why age strongly correlates to insurance rates and risky driving and what you can do if you’re hurt in a crash caused by a young driver.
Why Auto Insurers Charge Higher Rates for Young Adults
It’s well-known that car insurance is more expensive the younger you are. However, you might not know how much rates drop as you age. According to one review of national insurance rates in August 2023, insurance for a 16-year-old may be as much as $7,188 per year. By age 20, this drops to just $3,536 annually, and $1,964 annually by age 25.
Insurers set these rates based on statistical analyses that compare accident rates and resulting damages with demographic information. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers 19 and younger are nearly three times more likely to get in fatal car accidents than drivers 20 and older, which is why their rates are so much higher. It’s also why Uber already refused drivers under 21.
However, the statistics show that a 21-year-old driver is still 50% more likely to get in a crash than a 25-year-old, which is also reflected in insurance rates. So, what makes these drivers so much more risky?
- Inexperience: The younger someone is, the less experience they have on the road. This can lead to avoidable accidents if they misjudge a dangerous situation.
- Distractibility: Younger people are more likely to get distracted while driving – as many as one in three admit to texting while behind the wheel.
- Speeding: Younger adults are more likely to speed than older people, which is a significant factor in the frequency and severity of accidents.
- Substance Use: Young people are more likely to drive while intoxicated, making accidents more common and dangerous.
In combination, these factors make drivers younger than 25 significantly riskier than older people.
What Can You Do If You’re Injured by a Young Uber Driver
While Uber’s move to raise the minimum rideshare driving age is a strong step forward, it will be years before all California Uber drivers are over 25. In the meantime, you may still be injured in a rideshare accident caused by a young driver who is distracted, inexperienced, or intoxicated behind the wheel.
If that happens, you have options. The company’s mandatory insurance policies will fully cover these drivers, so you can trust that your claim can be covered. The first step to making a successful rideshare personal injury claim is to talk to the expert attorneys at The Wakeford Law Firm. Our San Francisco personal injury lawyers specialize in fighting for rideshare accident victims. Schedule your consultation with our skilled team to learn how we can help you hold Uber accountable for allowing unsafe people behind the wheel.