In the United States, ride share vehicle use offered by services such as Lyft and Uber, has increased dramatically in the last three years. According to the Pew Research Center, in late 2015, only 15% of those surveyed said they had used these services (one-third had never heard of ride sharing); by the end of 2018 36% had used such services and only 3% had never heard of them. Ride share use in urban and suburban areas seems certain to grow at a rapid pace. One issue that has received little attention is the transportation of children in ride share vehicles, particularly child safety seat installation and use. Car seats, especially seats for toddlers and small children can be bulky, heavy, and challenging to handle outside of vehicles. Inside vehicles, the options for correct installation can be as varied as the combination of vehicles and car seats available, and adding multiple children adds to the complexity. Initial surveys that examined the issue suggest widespread regulatory inconsistency on child safety seat use and confusion on the part of parents and drivers.
The objective of this research is to identify and prioritize the types of interventions needed to improve child passenger safety given the increasing shift to ride share vehicles. The research should include analysis of current use, including challenges and decision-making factors, projected shifts to ride share trips with car seat age children, as well as a scan of mandatory child restraint laws applicable to shared ride vehicles across the U.S., leading to model regulations, outreach materials for parents and drivers of ride share vehicles.