Young Uber drivers will follow an obligatory driving course with road safety body VVN starting within weeks.
All drivers under 25 will take the course, VVN announced in a news release on Friday. The safety organisation and Amsterdam city council had raised the alarm after four fatal road accidents in six weeks involving Uber drivers.
Uber announced in response that people under 21 would be banned and that all of its drivers would have a minimum of one year’s driving experience. It has also, reports VVN, taken measures to limit their hours behind the wheel at a stretch.
‘The training will focus on strengthening drivers’ risk assessment and social behaviour on the roads,’ VVN director Alphons Knuppel said to The Telegraaf. ‘This extra training course will build on existing taxi licencing to contribute directly to improving road safety. This is a serious issue for us and there’s no time to lose, so the first sessions will begin in the coming weeks.’
The course is expected to be offered to 550 Uber drivers, and those who do not take it ‘in a timely fashion’ will have their access to the taxi agency booking system deactivated.
Thijs Emondts, general manager at the transport company Uber Nederland said in the news release: ‘We’re confident that this will make a positive contribution to city road safety. Correctly assessing risks is essential to take part in traffic safely, especially in a busy city like Amsterdam.’
A spokeswoman for Uber added to DutchNews.nl: ‘Discussions with [the] city of Amsterdam and national government [are] ongoing, and we’re in the process of setting up the task force with Amsterdam and other partners.’
Uber drivers are currently treated as self-employed in the Netherlands – although cases in France and London have judged them employees. The app has been criticised for encouraging relatively inexperienced drivers to cruise around at night in search of fares.
A University of Chicago research paper co-authored by John Barrios, shared by Amsterdam municipal council this week, suggested that ‘ridesharing services’ in American cities increased fatal accidents by 2% to 3%.
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