An Uber driver in Signal Hill was brutally attacked this past New Year's
Eve, and though police have identified the assailants they must uncover
additional evidence before charging them.
According to witnesses, Gilbert Wilburn picked up two men at a Long Beach
party. When they arrived at an apartment complex, the two allegedly attacked
Mr. Wilburn. He sustained serious injuries, including a broken jaw. Since
his mouth is wired shut, he could not give a statement to police and the two men
remain at large.
The Signal Hill police chief acknowledged the driver's injuries but
said his department would conduct a "full and fair" investigation
before proceeding further.
First, a quick primer. Uber is essentially an informal smartphone-based
service that is somewhere between hailing a cab and calling a friend for
a ride. Local motorists are basically on call to pick up and drop off.
Uber claims its service is more convenient than public transportation
and costs less than regular taxis.
Uber and similar services operate in a legal grey area. Limousine and taxi
drivers must be licensed and insured. But, Uber's service is more
akin to someone giving you a ride from Bakersfield to San Francisco in
exchange for gas and snack money. At some point, a line is crossed between
amateur and professional driver, but no one is really sure where that line is.
If you are an Uber driver, get ready for more traffic tickets. You may
be in unfamiliar parts of the city or county, and not know where the speed
limit suddenly drops, which intersections have short yellow lights, where
heavy traffic makes it hard to change lanes, and so on. An attorney practicing
in Kern County can represent you in court and possibly get the fine and/or