A Houston woman is dead because the Uber she was in broke down. Should the driver be held liable?

A 39-year-old Houston woman – Misty Holley is dead after the Uber she was riding in (a Mitsubishi Lancer) broke down on the Southwest Freeway close to Newcastle.

You can read the full story on ABC13.com

Should the driver be held liable?

I know I will get some hate, but ya’ll need to hear this:

The simple answer is yes and drivers are named in lawsuits all the time for causing accidents here in Harris County. Uber of course will be named since the lawyers know we likely do not have any money in our name.

While the truck driver failed to stop, (and will likely be named in a lawsuit) it is likely that an investigation will determine if that particular driver knew of any mechanical defects that needed to be addressed. If it is determined that this breakdown occurred because the driver failed to do a repair he knew about, or even something preventative like regular oil changes, Uber’s insurance, and the truck driver’s insurance will likely use that to blame the driver. It is hard to determine exactly what can happen in this particular case, but a civil lawsuit is likely being drawn up now. God forbid if that driver blatantly drove knowing a major breakdown was likely. I am not a lawyer, so of course, none of this should be taken as legal advice.

If you are one of those drivers that “needs to drive tonight to make money for repairs”, or “I need money for new tires”. you should not be driving passengers around.

Uber is just as much responsible for this death in my opinion. Why? Because they never tell us “make sure you put enough money aside for repairs, etc.” Yes, we are independent contractors, but we are also average everyday people that just want to “generate some extra income”. Yes, most drivers think they are “hustling and have a business mindset”, but the truth of the matter is, very few of us drivers truly understand how to operate a business, myself included. Running a business means you are putting away x amount of money for surprise mechanical issues, new brakes, new tires (used tires don’t count), etc.

I really do hope that Misty Holley’s family is grieving because the Mitsubishi Lancer decided to give up without warning and not because of something that was 100% preventable.

What do you think? Should the driver be held liable? Leave your comments below!

3 thoughts on “A Houston woman is dead because the Uber she was in broke down. Should the driver be held liable?
  1. Breakdown can happen at anytime and with any vehicle with that being said Uber and Lyft should pay drivers fairly so they can afford to make necessary repairs that’s needed. Passenger should understand that those cheap fares they pay compared to what a taxi charges may result in riding in a unsafe vehicle . The blame should rest solely on Uber and Lyft for the low pay they pay drivers. I hope a driver wouldn’t drive people around knowing that their vehicle may break down.

  2. This is a very hard question. Uber and Lyft provide roadside assistance. I know Uber doesn’t allow Vehicles under a certain year . Lyft has no restrictions. I’ve seen Lyft vehicles dented smashed up and are still driving for Lyft.
    I think both rides shares need once a year inspections.
    I know I had an accident my car was out for a month cause Uber had to inspect it before I got back out on the road.
    One thing I learned you never stop on the freeway. If you can get off. Only plus off in a safe area.
    I hadn’t heard this . I am so sorry for Misty Holly family. It breaks my heart to die in such a tragic way.

    1. Uber and Lyft have rewards programs that are set up after you do x amount of rides within a certain timeframe, which I believe does include roadside assistance. They do not cover the cost of repairs though. It is up to the driver to maintain their vehicle since we are 1099’s – Independent Contractors.

      As for damaged vehicles – Both Uber and Lyft have policies in place that do not allow for cosmetic damage. Most cosmetic stuff won’t cause a car to break down, but the policies are there. Do they care? No. I have posted quite a few to Uber and Lyft in the past. I don’t think they ever took steps to remove them.

      As for Uber and Lyft vehicle years, they both have years in place. Lyft right before COVID even had changed it so that you had to add a 2015 or newer (5 years at most). I believe this has since changed b/c of the shortage of drivers.

      Lyft is also a bit more picky when it comes to background checks. I know of 2 people personally who can drive for uber but not for Lyft because of their history. (DWI and Domestic Abuse)

      But the truth of the matter is, there are no routine inspections. The only inspections we get are the yearly Texas safety/emissions inspection. A Being a part time driver, I have racked up an extra 40k miles in a year, and a lot can happen between inspections. Lyft used to inspect cars at time of application, but they no longer do this since it is not feasible (too many drivers)

      But yes, never, ever stop on the freeway. I had a blowout once with a rider and I limped it to the nearest exit. I didn’t like risking my rim, but is my life or the passengers life worth more than a rim? (This tire was replaced under warranty) The sad reality is, I have seen vehicles in the airport waiting lots with spare donut tires waiting for riders so they can take that money and buy a useds tire. The rates need to be addressed.

      Sometimes you can’t move though. I had a break down in the middle of the freeway (before Uber/Lyft) and my car wouldn’t turn on at all. Fortunatly, this was during rush hour, so I just got honked at a lot by slow moving drivers. A tow truck came pretty quickly though. He saw I was a teen and went easy on the price to. (not too many of those tow truck drivers)

      Anyhow, a bit longer than I anticiapted but there are some issues that need to be addressed by Uber and Lyft. If that means hiring less drivers and riders have to wait 10 more minutes for a ride so they can do inspections, so be it. They won’t though.

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