Video appears to show Uber passenger snorting cocaine
A video posted online of what appears to be a passenger in an Uber ride snorting cocaine is raising issues about ride-sharing.
The four minute video was posted on YouTube by Uber driver Peter Ringuette on Sunday. Just past the halfway point, the man can be seen leaning over and snorting something.
"First time a rider did coke in my two years of driving," says Ringuette in an email to CTV.
Taken just after midnight on Sunday, it shows Ringuette driving a man from Manotick to downtown Ottawa. The man is seen holding a pouch with white powder between his teeth and talking about "too much blow."
Ringuette says the man appeared to be intoxicated before the ride began. He says that's not unusual for a late night shift. The pair talked at multiple points during the video. Near the end, Ringuette turns down an offer to do a hit.
Despite the situation, Ringuette says he wasn't concerned.
"I'm not worried...he was no threat to me," he says.
Ringuette reported the incident to Uber as soon as the ride was completed. The company prohibits the use of drugs or alchohol while using the app.
After conducting an investigation, Uber says the rider has been banned from using the app in the future.
The video has raised many questions, mostly about legal and privacy implications. An Ottawa lawyer says there is no expectation of privacy in that kind of situation and doesn't believe any charages will be laid on the passenger or driver.
"This would be stretching teh bounds of what the law would allow and I just don't see it being a viable case on these facts," says criminal defence lawyer Paul Lewandowski.
Safety is also a concern. Uber iterates that it is dedicated to the safety of both its drivers and passengers. One taxi company reached for comment says most drivers have experienced a similar situation, but are trained on how to deal with it.
Ottawa Police say they usually need a complainant in a case like this to launch an investigation.