Rideshare drivers are individuals that do not endure their job with a breeze like people think. It's not to say all drivers are compliant or even easy to converse with for that designated trip, but it is not lawful or not even a reason to assault them. Civil and criminal charges can be held against you, along with many more consequences.
As riders that attack their drivers, they can face criminal penalties just like an assault on any other person (FYI: the legal term for a physical attack on someone is actually "battery" not "assault"). Like many other crimes, assault (and/or battery) charges usually have varying degrees which differ depending on each state's criminal laws. With all criminal charges of course, these are not easy to brush off and continue life on with despite the victim “just being your driver.”
T.J. Miller, better known as HBO's Silicon Valley's Erlick Bachman, was recently arrested and immediately released for attacking a car service driver. The driver called the police after the attack and insisted that Miller be arrested according to multiple sources. The police investigated the incident, arrested Miller, charged him with a misdemeanor, and then released him.
Law enforcement is a determining factor in how citations and released are approached with assaults. With the case of if Miller had given the driver serious injuries, there would not be a quick release for him. It doesn't mean the assault did not happen however, charges would still be filed.
Special Penalties Like Taxi/Bus Driver Assault Laws?
Here are more situations for attacks on drivers that are not just exclusive to rideshare drivers. A recent incident in Nebraska illustrates how the motive for an attack matters. Because the attacker was insulting the driver's ethnicity, he is being charged with a hate crime, which increases the severity of the penalties according to sources.
Most localities have special laws that make an assault on a taxi, bus, or other public transportation, driver a more serious crime than a standard assault. However, because of the relative newness of ridesharing services, these laws may not cover ride share drivers.