Coroner suggests ride-sharing cars undergo mandatory inspection
Published Monday, February 12, 2018 9:10AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 12, 2018 6:44PM EST
A coroner says Quebecers should know that ride sharing cars are not required to undergo inspections.
The notice comes after the death of a 30-year-old woman in October 2016 using an intercity ride-sharing service.
On October 8, 2016, Katy Torres Davila was one of several people getting a ride from Ottawa to Montreal using a vehicle they'd booked through Amigo Express, or Kangaride and it’s known outside of Quebec.
It was raining heavily and one passenger said the car skidded several times before the driver lost control another time and went across the median and smashed into the front of a minivan on Highway 40 east in St. Lazare.
Torres Davila was killed in the crash, while the driver and another passenger were badly injured.
“I think it was the second time I took a car share, so it was just a regular day getting into the car and trying to get back home,” said fellow passenger Jizreel Botat. “I think it was after the second or third swerve that I texted my girlfriend (to say) I think we're going to get into an accident because the way we were swerving felt abnormal.”
Botat recalled the harrowing experience.
“Literally as we went into the median, I like passed out. I don't know what happened to me, but I went black.” He said.
An inspection of the vehicle showed that though it was just four years old, the rear tires were bald and a different size than the tires in the front of the car. The rear brake pads were completely worn down, while the front pads were close to being used up.
The owner and driver of the car refused to talk to investigators about the crash and their knowledge of the car's roadworthiness.
The website that arranges the ride-sharing service, Amigo Express, says that it is up to drivers to ensure their cars are in good working order. The company cannot, however, force drivers to do so.
Coroner Jean Brochu said that means passengers are riding at their own risk.
"Essentially, my intention in bringing the report to public awareness, is people have to know that when they do business with a service like this - there is no guarantee. If you take a taxi or a bus you know the driver or the vehicle itself are submitted to very strict control and maintenance obligations, while with Amigo Express, they say that the driver is supposed to be okay in the car - but there's no guarantee," said Brochu.
He pointed out the SAAQ requires many vehicles to undergo regular inspections, so the agency obviously believes that's a worthwhile procedure.
The coroner stops short of making a recommendation that ride sharing vehicles should undergo mandatory inspections because he said it would be difficult to enforce.
Botat called the incident a tragic accident, but said it should serve as a lesson to anyone who gets into a car.
“The moment you have other people’s lives in your hands, then you have to take extra precautions to make sure that they get to wherever you’re taking them,” he said.