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“Uber For Kids” Companies Actually Have Safer Drivers

A recent analysis of ridesharing data shows companies like Shuddle are making good on their promise of safe rides for kids.

“Uber For Kids” Companies Actually Have Safer Drivers
[Photo: Flickr user Alli]

The recent crop of Uber-like ridesharing services that specialize in transporting children has a very clear value proposition. Shuddle describes itself not simply as “rides for kids,” but “safe rides for kids.” HopSkipDrive notes on its homepage that it was created by moms “who understand the struggle of getting kids around town safely.” And Kidzjet also puts safety first in its tagline, “safe, reliable, transparent.”

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Safety is how ridesharing services for kids compete against ridesharing services for everyone. They all complete extensive background checks, track rides via GPS, and trumpet safe driving practices. In order to monitor the latter, they use technology that detects behaviors like speed, whether drivers are using their phones, abrupt breaking, and observance of rules. The biggest provider of this technology, called Zendrive, recently shared with Fast Company data about how kids-specific driver behavior stacks up against that of general ridesharing services and among non-professional drivers.

Fortunately for the companies providing kids’ rides as a service, the results—based upon data from more than 870,000 trips with 10 million miles traveled between June and August—suggests their drivers are actually doing a better job.

On Zendrive’s safety rubric, services for kids scored 88, which is excellent, compared with a Zendrive Score of 81 for general ridesharing fleets and 78 for non-professional drivers. General ridesharing and non-professional drivers spent more than twice as much time using their phones while driving, and they were more likely to drive aggressively or speed.

Zendrive has access to this large dataset of driving behavior because its technology is integrated as a third-party service in a variety of ridesharing and other driving apps. While that allows the startup to do studies like this one, it also means that its position is not entirely neutral, though in this case it has both general ridesharing apps and kid-specific ridesharing apps as customers.

About the author

Sarah Kessler is a senior writer at Fast Company, where she writes about the on-demand/gig/sharing "economies" and the future of work.

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