Uber, Lyft drivers worry about recent driver attacks

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LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – Recent crimes against drivers for Uber, Lyft, and Monday night’s shooting of a Largo cab driver are focusing attention on driver safety.

It’s making some re-think if this is the way they want to make a living or earn some extra income. Uber and Lyft driver, Shannon Hall invited News Channel 8 to ride along as he responded to his phone app and accepted requests for rides.

He’s aware of recent problems, like the carjacking and crash of an Uber driver’s car, and two men, accused of forcing a Lyft driver to drive around as they committed crimes.

“It kind of gives me the creeps a little bit because, then again, you never know who you’re gonna pick up,” said Hall.

Driving helps Hall supplement his income, but it comes with risks and pitfalls, like the occasional drunk.

“They can either be real fun or real annoying. But, most of the time, we’re looking at it like we’re going them a favor,” he said.

Uber and Lyft driver, Israel Rodriguez has reduced the hours he is on the road.

“It’s scary. I would say I contemplate about every single day whether I want to go out or not,” he said.

Rodriguez shared a story about how a passenger posed this question:

“’What would you do if somebody tries to rob you?’ At that present time, the person said he had a knife,” he said.

Rodriguez tried to act like nothing happened. “We get almost to his house and that’s when he says, ya know, ‘I think I’m gonna rob you and a matter of fact, I even have a gun.’”

Closing in on the passenger’s house, Rodriguez saw an opportunity.

“Luckily, we were right around the block from em, I pulled into his parking space and I jumped out of the car. I ran for the hills, more or less,” he said.

Both drivers said they need the income Uber and Lyft provide, but having strangers in their car is an ever-present concern.

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