“Uber must be banned.” advocates the VVN, the Dutch road safety organization after a series of fatal accidents caused by Uber drivers in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. “They are kamikaze pilots,” says Rob Stomphorst, the organization’s speaker.
In two months time, Uber-drivers have killed 4 people in three separate incidents. Recently an accident which happened on January 3 was also attributed to an Uber-driver. He drove into a father and daughter who had left their broken-down car at the side of the motorway. Drug-use played a part in the accident, according to Amsterdam police. In December and January a pedestrian and a cyclist – both in their 20’s – were hit by an Uber. In 2017 an Uber-driver killed a 24-year student, but the courts cleared him of any responsibility. “Uber does not learn”, the parents involved commented bitterly.
“Four deaths in six weeks and another accident in Amsterdam recently, in which a nine-year-old girl was badly injured and the Uber-driver just drove off, that’s just too much. That driver had also caused another accident with a cyclist just minutes before, and had not stopped for that one either. The question is how many deadly victims it takes before resolute action is taken. We can’t let Uber go on like this.” says Stomphorst. After a few hours the Uber driver reported to the police.
According to the road traffic club, the same rules should apply for all taxis. Today, Uber drivers have lower requirements than regular drivers who are connected to a taxi company. Since last week 500 Amsterdam taxidrivers mourn the victims and protest the current problems with Uber by driving around with a black mourning ribbon attached to their vehicles. “We are waiting for the next deadly victim”, one taxi driver said.
Amsterdam’s alderman Sharon Dijksma (traffic and transport) – a former national transport minister – is “very concerned” about Uber drivers road safety. “In recent times there were too many accidents which involved taxis,” Dijksma said. “I think Uber must take responsibility and ensure that their drivers comply with all applicable laws and regulations.”
Since the latest fatal accident, a week ago, Dijksma has spoken to Uber’s European director. She also talked to other Amsterdam taxi companies, despite the fact that their accident rate traditionally is much lower than Uber’s.
Recently the Dutch Transport Ministry has been discussing Uber’s atrocious road safety record in Amsterdam (800.000 inhabitants). The ministry is also seeking a meeting with Alderman Dijksma about Amsterdam’s unruly and mushrooming taxi market, now served by about 5.000 taxicabs, Uber’s and others.
Thijs Emondts, General Manager of Uber in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg, told local media Uber was very concerned about the number of fatal accidents which happened in a short time. “Safety is our greatest priority, which is why we are investigating whether we can do even more to increase road safety. Our thoughts go out to the victim’s relatives.”
According to Amsterdam city council member Dennis Boutkan, decisive action is now needed. “I assume that the taxi inspection team is now taking another hard look at Uber,” he told local media. “Uber’s way of working is dangerous and unhealthy, the drivers do not earn enough, and through the app Uber pushes the drivers in a way which threatens road safety.”
- Uber-drivers kill 4 in Amsterdam in two months; Road safety organization demands Uber ban.