Wednesday, December 11, 2019

New RFP: Ensuring child safety in for-hire rideshare vehicles


Child restraint systems (CRS) are a proven method for reducing injuries to children.  While there is little information on how CRS are used in rideshare vehicles and taxis, current data suggests that CRS use in taxis is much lower (5.9%) compared to personal use vehicles (92.8%) the United States, rideshare vehicle use offered by services such as Lyft and Uber, has increased dramatically in the last few years.  According to the Pew Research Center, in late 2015, only 15% of those surveyed said they had used these services (one-third had never heard of ridesharing); by the end of 2018, 36% had used such services and 3% had never heard of them. Rideshare use in urban and suburban areas seems certain to grow at a rapid pace. One issue that has received little attention is the transportation of children in rideshare vehicles, particularly child safety seat installation and use. Car seats, especially for toddlers and small children, can be bulky, heavy, and challenging to handle outside of the vehicle. Inside vehicles, the options for correct installation can be as varied as the combination of vehicles and car seats available, and traveling with two or more children adds to the complexity.  Initial surveys that examined the issue suggest widespread regulatory inconsistency on child seat use and confusion on the part of caregivers and for-hire drivers.  Moreover, there is a lack of research on best practice approaches for promoting child safety in for-hire ride share scenarios. 

Child passenger safety inspection stations are places or events where parents and caregivers can receive assistance from certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians. Prior research has suggested that primary care providers and child passenger safety technicians may be important conduits of child passenger safety information to caregivers, but more research is needed given the rapidly evolving rideshare environment.

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