Uber,Lyft and Sidecar cut corners with public safety and call it innovation.
The reality is that for hire vehicles are on the road far more than private cars and have higher liabilties. Cab driving is one of the most dangerous occupations in the USA not only due to the risk of accidents but also from crime. Unless regulatory authorities mandate that for hire vehicles carry the expensive commercial liability and industrial compensation insurance, the cab operator nor the dispatch service(i.e. Uber) will not do it on their own.
That the unregulated "rideshare" operations are cutting corners can be seen in the New Year's eve fatality accident in San Francisco where an UberX driver ran over a family killing a six year old girl and hospitalizing the rest of the family.
Uber's response was "We can confirm that the driver in question was a partner of Uber and that we have deactivated his Uber account. The driver was not providing services on the Uber system during the time of the accident." Stripped of the corporate double talk this means "Uber is not paying for this accident because the driver did not have our fare in his vehicle at the time. Go try and collect from the judgement proof cab driver".
The rub is that the UberX driver was operating with non-commercial insurance on his vehicle which excludes coverage for a business operation. This means that his private insurance will deny any claims from this accident. Uber claims to have a proprietary insurance plan that kicks in when the driver accepts a fare on his smartphone and ends when the driver hits the dropoff button. But outside these two digital events, the insurance coverage is supposed to revert back to the driver's plan which in this case and for most of these "rideshare" taxis means no coverage at all.
Uber brags that it checks the driver's insurance, driving record and criminal history. But it didn't catch the fatality accident driver's reckless driving conviction in Florida. It is also knew that this driver's non-commercial policy did not cover his UberX business. This is gross negligence on Uber's part.