Have you ever used Uber or Lyft? What about any of your friends? The answer is most likely yes to either of these questions, ESPECIALLY in urban areas, such as the Tampa Bay metropolitan area which is the second largest in Florida.
As attorneys who have seen up-close-and-personal the devastating effects of crashes related to drunk driving, we’re a big fan of these ride-sharing services because they provide users with a safe way to get home. We are delighted to hear this good news, and we’re sure you are too!
According to a report by News Channel 7, as of May 2017, Governor Rick Scott has officially signed the bill to approve ride-sharing programs such as Uber and Lyft! This is a monumental achievement for the industry since it will allow drivers to operate under a unanimous law across the state. In the past drivers were subject to different laws depending on which county or city they were operating in. This sort of ambiguity has led to issues in some jurisdictions including Key West, Broward and Hillsborough counties who have banned Uber and Lyft, or ticketed their drivers; but no more!
This has been a battle for years with the main opposition coming from the taxi companies. In 2015 the taxi companies filed a lawsuit against the state using the argument that the technology used to determine distance within the app should receive the same regulations as a taxi meter. Tampa Bay has had to maneuver its way around the various pushbacks to allow the companies to exist. In 2016, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported that the city chose to, “implement fingerprint-based background checks and annual vehicle inspections conducted by a certified mechanic before a driver can begin operating as a for-hire driver.”
Ridesharing has made transport both accessible and affordable to the residents and thousands of visitors to the major cities every year. For purposes of insurance the state law demands that as of June 1st, 2017 the ride-booking companies to carry:
- $100,000 for death and bodily injury
- $25,000 for property damage while the driver is logged into their app
- $1 million in coverage while with the passengers
Also, there will be a statewide standard for background checks. The following issues preventing someone from being a driver are:
- Three or more moving violations in the past three years.
- A felony in the past five years.
- A misdemeanor for DUI, reckless driving, hit-and-run, or fleeing from a police officer in the past five years.
- A misdemeanor for a violent offense, sexual battery or indecent exposure in the past five years.
- Driving with a suspended license in the past three years.
- Appearing in a sex offender registry.
- Not having a valid driver’s license, the proper insurance and a vehicle registration.
The regulation of ride-sharing will now fall to the Florida Department of Financial Services and will pave the way for ride-sharing firms to capture more airport and cruise industry business.
At Ligori & Sanders we want all drivers and passengers to have a safe ride wherever your journey may take you. With that being said, there is always the chance for an unplanned incident to take place and that’s where we come in. We are always up-to-date with the most recent rules and regulations and are happy to guide you through any legal processes that may arise.