Recently I have seen commercials and ads for those in support of Proposition 22 from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Of course, this is a very worthwhile and noble organization attempting to stop drunk driving, the accidents that occur from drunk driving, and the corresponding lives which are ruined.
Does classifying Uber/Lyft drivers as independent contractors really prevent drunk driving?
There are current statistics indicating a decrease in drunk driving arrests and accidents in the major cities in California. Some have shown significant decreases of 25% to 40% in drunk driving arrests/accidents. There are no actual statistics indicating this decrease is due to the use of Uber/Lyft. But from an intuitive and practical approach, it makes sense that the increased use of Uber/Lyft services has caused this decrease. This is clearly a good thing for California's citizens.
But the commercial infers that the only way this worthy goal can be obtained is through the Uber/Lyft drivers being independent contractors. As has been noted in my previous Myth Buster blog, that is not true. Drivers as employees of Uber/Lyft as opposed to independent contractors could just as easily have the same impact on drunk driving.
As employees, the Uber/Lyft drivers would have the full protection of California's employment laws. This includes rights under wage and hour laws (including overtime and minimum wage), rights under sick leave laws, rights under employment discrimination laws, rights under workers' compensation laws, and other statutory protections for employees.
Of course, the inferred threat in the ads is if Uber/Lyft do not get their way on Prop 22 (i.e, the drivers as independent contractors and not employees), they will pull their business out of California. This will cause an increase in drunk driving accidents and arrests because Uber/Lyft will not do business in California if the drivers are employees. A voluntary choice on the part of Uber/Lyft and a form of legal blackmail against California citizens. Uber/Lyft are telling California citizens, 'Give us what we want or drunk driving accidents/arrests will increase because we will not be there.'
So ask yourself, does Uber/Lyft truly care about decreasing drunk driving accidents and deaths? Or do they really care more about their profits?
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