Safety and Laws for Uber and Other Rideshare Companies
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Oct 17, 2016
Transportation network companies, or TNC, are rapidly growing throughout Philadelphia and the rest of the United States. These companies, also called ride hailing companies, include big names like Uber and Lyft, as well as myriad smaller, lesser known businesses. The companies operate on a simple idea: a customer hails a ride using an app on a smartphone, and the driver picks up the customer and transports them to their destination of choice.
While the concept is indeed straightforward, it has raised numerous concerns about its safety, as well as issues of liability and insurance in the event that something goes wrong. The following explores whether or not ride hailing companies have enough insurance to protect drivers and passengers, perform adequate background checks, and mandate safe vehicles.
The Insurance Questions – Who Is Liable in an Accident?
Perhaps the biggest concern with ride hailing companies like Uber and Lyft is the issue of insurance. While both companies provide $1 million in liability coverage for each of their drivers in the event of negligence, the coverage only applies when the driver is transporting a passenger from the pick-up point to the drop-off point. As such, three grey areas of potential non-coverage exist:
- When the driver is using the app, but has not connected with nor picked up a passenger;
- When the driver is using the app and has connected with a passenger on the app and is en route to pick them up, but the passenger is not yet in the vehicle; and
- When the passenger is within the driver’s vehicle, but the vehicle is not en route.
To address the issue, many states have proposed or passed legislation concerning insurance coverage. For example, California has passed Assembly Bill 2293, which requires that the TNC coverage apply to drivers from the moment they sign onto the app to the moment that they sign off, and that the TNC coverage is the primary coverage.
Safety Issues – Are Drivers Fit to Drive, and Are Cars Safe to Be Driven?
Another looming concern with TNCs includes whether or not the drivers, and the vehicles that they drive, are safe. At this point, drivers for most TNCs can work for TNCs if they are at least 21 years of age, pass a background check, and have a vehicle that was manufactured after the year 2000 (or 2005 in some cases). However, this system fails to adequately investigate drivers’ histories of safety (breaches) behind the wheel, or any vehicle defects that may exist.
Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer After an Accident
TNCs and ride hailing services are convenient, but the laws to regulate such companies are unclear and ill defined at this point. For those who are injured in an accident involving a TNC like Uber or Lyft, this ambiguity can be costly and frustrating.
If you have been injured in an accident, our car accident attorneys can help you to prove fault, negotiate with insurance companies, and recover the compensation that you deserve. For a free consultation, contact our law firm today.