From finding baggies in the backseat to being tipped with pills, these rideshare drivers have seen their share of close drug encounters.
Uber and Lyft may have zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies whether you’re a passenger or behind the wheel—but drivers are nevertheless subjected to intoxicated passengers or those who are carrying, using or selling illegal drugs.
“We hear about this all the time. Drivers are concerned that they’re being used as drug mules in a lot of situations—unknowingly,” said attorney Bryant Greening of LegalRideshare, a Chicago-based law firm specializing in rideshare accidents and injuries.
When new passengers enter a Lyft or Uber, the driver can sense how well, or how badly, a ride will turn out. Anything from the smell of the passenger, to their clothing or how talkative they are, can give a driver a sense of how the trip will go.
Jennifer Reid, a rideshare driver in Joliet, Illinois, told CBS about one incident in which a mystery substance was left behind in her backseat.
“When they got out, I looked in the back because I had a feeling, and I saw the white baggie with a little bit left in it, and then some white powder on the floor and on the seat,” said Reid. She suspected that the white powdery substance was cocaine.
“I just was annoyed and upset that it was brought into my car like that, and the fact that they actually did it in my car,” she added. Uber later paid for her car to be cleaned.
Through working with the Chicago Rideshare Advocates, Reid asked other drivers to share similar stories. One driver recalled a passenger who tried to “tip me in pills.” Another said they keep Narcan on hand after experiencing one passenger whose “eyes were rolled back.”
The stories don’t stop there. More shared their unpleasant encounters with erratic passengers with Business Insider.
One Las Vegas driver had to call the police after a passenger who “only ate a little shrooms” opened the door while the car was in motion. Another driver from Orlando went on a “six-hour ride once with tons of stops that I’m pretty sure was a drug run.”
Many more deal with erratic and intoxicated passengers on a regular basis, some who inflict damage on their vehicles.