Illegal ride-hailing cars expose passengers to disputes in road accidents

The traffic authority has warned of disputes in road accidents while taking illegal ride-hailing cars.

Video from Dong's dashboard camera.

Passengers taking an illegal ride-hailing car may not be covered by insurance in case of a road accident, the law enforcement department of Shanghai Transportation Commission warned on April 10.

A woman surnamed Su and her family were injured in an accident caused by the dangerous driving of an illegal ride-hailing driver last year, but the dispute regarding compensation has yet to be resolved.

Su hailed a car from Uber to Pudong airport at 5am on June 23 last year. With light traffic on the road, the driver sped and crashed into a road cleaning vehicle, leaving all the passengers injured.

When Su tried to claim compensation from Uber, all she received was a 200 yuan (US$31) coupon.

Unlike registered ride-hailing cars, insurance companies are exempted from liability when accidents involve illegal drivers, an officer from the traffic authority explained.

Once these illegally operating cars ran into accidents, the official said, passengers seeking insurance coverage have to go through time-consuming arbitration.

The team said they have also stepped up crackdown on illegal car-hailing business.

On the morning of April 9, officers set up a checkpoint targeting ride-hailing cars at the departure floor of Pudong International Airport. 

The driver of one of the cars refused inspection,accelerating and fleeing from the scene with the passenger still in the car.

Later the driver, surnamed Dong, made a detour and dropped the passenger at the arrival floor of the airport, where no checkpoint was set up.

Dong later uploaded dash cam footage of the incident online, gloating that he had  evaded authorities.

However, officers from the law enforcement department checked surveillance cameras across the city, and Dong was soon tracked down by police in Qingpu District where he lives.

Neither Dong nor his car had the required licenses to operate an online ride-hailing business. He had registered on Shenzhou Zhuanche (Car Inc), which will face punishment for allowing illegal operation.

Dong faces 20 days' detention for illegally ride-hailing business and for obstructing officers on duty. His driver’s license was suspended for six months.

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