Who Is Responsible For Distracted Driving?

Lerners LLP


Lerners LLP is one of Southwestern Ontario’s largest law firms with offices in London, Toronto, Waterloo Region, and Strathroy. Ours is a history of over 90 years of successful client service and representation. Today we are more than 140 exceptionally skilled lawyers with abundant experience in litigation and dispute resolution(including class actions, appeals, and arbitration/mediation,) corporate/commercial law, health law, insurance law, real estate, employment law, personal injury and family law.
In the fast-paced world of on-demand delivery or ride services, companies such as Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way we travel.
Canada Transport
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In the fast-paced world of on-demand delivery or ride services, companies such as Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way we travel.

However, as the convenience of these services grows, so does the concern over distracted driving. This raises the question: are on-demand delivery or ride-hailing service drivers liable for distracted driving and what responsibility do the companies themselves hold?


Distracted driving has become a significant issue on roads worldwide, with smartphones being one of the leading culprits. On-demand delivery service drivers, constantly connected to their devices for navigation and communication, face a higher risk of distractions.

From checking delivery instructions to responding to messages and adjusting navigation, these drivers juggle multiple tasks, potentially compromising road safety.


As you may have guessed, distracted driving is strictly prohibited by law. Except in limited circumstances, using a device such as a smartphone while driving will have serious consequences. These include (but are not limited to) a fine, licence suspension and even imprisonment.

While drivers are undoubtedly responsible for their actions behind the wheel, the question of whether the companies themselves share liability remains contentious. Courts have grappled with the issue, often relying on the degree of control the company exerts over its drivers to establish liability.

One thing that is certain is that the legal landscape is evolving and the answer to the question of whether such companies will be liable will depend on individual circumstances and the facts.

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should seek the advice of lawyers.


Companies such as Uber and Lyft — as pioneers in the on-demand transportation and delivery industry — leverage advanced technology to connect drivers with riders and manage deliveries.

However, the reliance also raises concerns about distraction. Such companies have implemented features that encourage safe driving, such as in-app navigation and voice commands. Still, the effectiveness of these measures in mitigating distraction remains uncertain.

Despite these safety features, the very nature of the job requires constant interaction with the app, potentially diverting a driver's attention from the road. The question then becomes whether the companies are doing enough to minimize distraction and ensure the safety of the drivers and the public.

In light of these concerns, municipalities have stepped up to address the issue. As recently as in 2022, the City of Toronto implemented mandatory training programs for ride-sharing drivers. Drivers of ride-for-hire companies such as Uber and Lyft must complete the training in order to obtain a license from the city.

While drivers must bear responsibility for their actions, delivery or ride-hailing companies also play a crucial role in fostering a safe environment. Striking the right balance between technological innovation, driver autotomy, and safety measures will be key in navigating the grey area of liability and ensuring the well-being of everyone on the road.

As the on-demand industry matures, finding sustainable solutions to these challenges will be essential for the continued growth and success of these groundbreaking and convenient services.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
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