The mother and the partner of a 24-year-old man killed in a Lyft collision implored the state to issue stricter, safer rules on rideshare vehicles Thursday morning.
The pleas from Donna Dinapoli, of Folsom, and Brady Lawrence, came as the California Public Utilities Commission voted on new regulations for ride-hail companies like Uber and Lyft.
“The loss of my son is a tragedy I live with every day,” she told the commissioners. “I think the lack of regulations of companies like Lyft are putting Californians in danger.”
In 2014, Dinapoli’s son Shane Holland, 24, was killed after his Lyft driver swerved on a rainy Sacramento road at 75 mph and hit a tree, according to court records. Dinapoli alleged the driver had a speeding violation the year before, and drove without proper insurance.
Dinapoli and Lawrence filed a wrongful death suit against Lyft, which in turn claimed in court filings that the driver in question was an independent contractor — which Lyft said frees them from legal responsibility.
Lawrence told the CPUC, “I lost the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. We lost control, hit two trees, and Shane was killed. I had to hold the body of my best friend in a car that night.”
He continued, “I know you can’t bring Shane back, but you can use your authority to make sure Lyft hires safe drivers … and assumes responsibility when something goes wrong.”
At the same meeting, the CPUC approved new regulations for ride-hail services like Uber and Lyft, but delayed discussion on fingerprinted criminal checks and other safety considerations for the next few years.
Dinapoli said though Lyft reached out to Lawrence, Lyft never offered her personal condolences either verbally or in writing.
The day after the collision Lyft wrote in an email to Lawrence, “We are now aware of the severity of the accident and would like to send our deepest condolences to you and Shane’s loved ones for this terrible loss.”
Previous to that, Lyft offered Lawrence one free ride of up to $25 following the crash.