Uber driver says parents are risking children's safety

Parents want drivers to drive without car seats
Posted at 3:32 AM, Jun 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-17 06:33:32-04

It’s a safety risk one Uber driver says she doesn’t plan to take.

Michelle Fondren contacted Team 10 about a growing problem she sees while on the road.

“I find that parents want me to take their young children for the ride without having the proper and legal car restraint seats,” Fondren said.

She’s been driving for nine months and says it happens almost every week.

“Two, three, four times a week easily!” she told Team 10.

Fondren, who worked as a banker, turned to Uber after retirement. She said being behind the wheel was a good fit, considering she used to be a race car driver.

“I’d get 180-190 miles an hour,” Fondren said.

She drives the speed limit now and follows the rules of the road. What’s surprising to her are the families who choose to break them.

She contacted Team 10 in hopes sharing her story will get parents to stop doing it.

California law states children under two need to be in a rear-facing car seat, unless the child is more than 40 pounds or more than 40 inches tall. Children younger than eight and under 4”9  must be in a car seat or booster seat. That includes ridesharing services.

Fondren refuses to take families who show up without their own seats.

“Sometimes they’ll argue with me and be upset with me,” Fondren said. “But you’re being paid to do this so why won’t you?”

She then sees the same families turn around and order another Uber.

“I just see child endangerment,” Fondren said.

On top of that, she loses out financially.

“I’ve spent my gas, my hard earned gas money to get to you,” Fondren said. “That’s not fair to me either.”

Uber does have an option to order a car with a car seat and pay a little extra, but it is only in four cities: New York, Philadelphia, Orlando, and Washington, D.C. At this point, a spokesman says there are no plans to expand the program.

Fondren does not bring her own car seat for liability reasons. She says parents can bring one, but they just don’t.

“Wouldn’t you rather have to lug around a car seat rather than sit next to a hospital bed with a child who’s had his faced bashed in?” Fondren said.

Lyft also allows passengers to install car seats.

When it comes to Uber, a spokesman says drivers can report passengers for asking them to break local traffic laws. They could lose access to the app. The same goes for drivers who break the law and risk a child’s safety.