TORONTO (NEWS 1130) — A Toronto woman, who lost her son in a crash caused by an inexperienced Uber driver, says Ontario should follow B.C.’s lead when it comes to making sure all drivers are qualified, and safe.
Cheryl Hawkes says 28-year-old Nick Cameron died in March of last year when the for-hire driver transporting him and his girlfriend to the Toronto airport swerved into fast-moving traffic.
“You don’t want to be that one person whose kid is killed because you’ll never know what could have been if they’d just made people go through extra training. He (the driver) shouldn’t have been behind the wheel of the car,” she says. “That’s the cards Nick and his girlfriend Monika drew.”
She says city staff in Toronto, which approved Uber and Lyft more than three years ago, are now recommending mandatory training.
In B.C., cabbies have to undergo criminal record checks and their Class 4 licensing can be revoked if an operator is charged with a driving-related crime.
Hawkes tells NEWS 1130 she wishes the rules were just as strong in Ontario.
“Let’s just have it and see what happens. That’s what the city of Toronto did and I’m staring at my son’s urn right now on my shelf. You can’t trust Class 5 drivers to take on passengers,” she says. “It’s just not the same level as driving your family around. Your politicians have a responsibility to the public and not to a big corporation that says it just can’t operate with rules that require safety training.”
After meeting with some executives from Uber, Hawkes says she’s convinced they won’t agree to stronger safety rules –unless they’re forced to.
“What were you thinking when you started this? Was there never any kind of thought, ‘Maybe we should put them through some kind of test?’ The more rides there are, the more it (money) goes into your pocket and they don’t want to slow the flow of drivers.”
New York is also capping the number of ride-hailing cars allowed in that city where Uber and Lyft have been available several years.