HOUSTON – One Houston area Lyft passenger and his family were shocked when they say their driver’s car wheel came flying off the car during a ride home.
The driver, they said, had no insurance.
Now, the passengers are demanding more accountability on behalf of Lyft, asking how this was possible.
Mike Bui, his wife, his sister, and his brother-in-law were coming home from a wedding celebration after party around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and thought they were doing the safest thing by using a rideshare app to go home. So, they called a Lyft driver.
“At first, it was just shock,” Bui said. “This was very surreal that this was happening to us.”
Bui quickly realized that something did not feel quite right.
“We were heading east on I-10 near Post Oak,” Bui said. “The car was shaking. It was noticeable. We all mentioned something.”
Then, the feeling got worse.
“I was sitting in the front passenger side, and the shaking became more of a violent rumble,” Bui said.
Moments later, the unthinkable happened.
“The front right tire just flew off the car. My brother-in-law who was sitting in the back by the window, saw [the tire] fly off, scrape the car, and it was lost on I-10,” Bui said.
The black SUV came to a screeching halt right under the 610 overpass on I-10. His wife was in tears. Everyone was shocked and terrified as Bui tried to get help.
“I told the Lyft driver to call 911 or roadside assistance, and that’s when [the Lyft driver] revealed that he didn’t have insurance,” Bui said.
Bui was stunned. He said the driver told him that he had been having issues with his car.
“He was having issues with his tires but didn’t have enough money to fix it properly,” Bui said.
Bui called 911. Bui said the driver canceled their ride right after the screeching stop then the driver called his sister to come and finish the ride.
Declining the ride initially, Bui and his family waited for official help.
Eventually, Houston Police came and instructed Bui to take the sister’s ride to a safer spot and that Houston police would escort them.
They then called another ride home.
After they all got home safely, Bui said he was still disappointed in Lyft’s response to him. Bui said he contacted Lyft that night, the day after, and Tuesday.
“They said any time we feel unsafe, we can always cancel the ride,” Bui said. “When you’re going down I-10 60-70 MPH and the car is shaking, it did not occur to me to cancel at that moment.”
Bui said Lyft also told him that he would never be paired with that specific driver any longer.
”That is an inadequate, awful response--just laughable,” he said.
More importantly, Bui said he hopes that Lyft tightens up on its vetting and enforcement.
“For someone to be able to drive on their behalf, knowing that they have a faulty vehicle, knowing that they don’t have insurance--that’s just unacceptable,” Bui said.
A Lyft spokesperson stated to KPRC Wednesday:
“Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the incident described is concerning. We have been in touch with the rider to offer our support and have temporarily deactivated the driver’s vehicle pending further review.”
Lyft also said they have safety standards for vehicles which include meeting city and state requirements. It also said that Lyft drivers are required to have a personal auto insurance policy that meets minimum state coverage requirements.
Bui said Lyft can and should do better. He said passengers should take pictures and videos although he hopes that what happened to him does not happen to anyone else.
“One can’t help but think, ‘What could have happened?’ ... had we been injured...had someone died?” Bui added.