In a fairly short period of time, ridesharing has gone from a novel idea
to a viable transportation movement. Whether for daily commutes, personal
errands, or business travel, this popular option is accessible through
a variety of apps. Uber and Lyft are the most well-known ridesharing companies,
with tens of thousands of drivers in Florida alone. Recently,
state lawmakers passed new regulations intended to standardize the confusing patchwork of local rules that have
developed in response to the growing ridesharing industry.
Initially wary of ride-sharing services, many communities imposed fees
on ride-share services or barred these drivers from certain activities
such as picking up passengers from airports. In an effort to balance economic
opportunity with public safety, the new law overturns all local ordinances
as of July 1, 2017, and institutes a single statewide set of rules. This
includes previous regulations that prohibited ridesharing companies from
operating in the Keys.
Under the new law, ride-share drivers must be at least 21, with a license
that has not been suspended or revoked in the last three years. They also
have to pass a criminal background check that automatically excludes people
with certain convictions, including sexual assault and drunk driving.
The companies are required to carry $1 million in insurance for death,
personal injury, and property damage whenever a driver is engaged in a
ride. Drivers still must have their own insurance for personal driving.
Vehicles must have four doors, cannot be a model older than 2007, and
must pass safety inspections. Although the law allows qualified drivers
to lease cars from the ridesharing companies, most use their own personal vehicle.
Considered to be independent contractors rather than employees, drivers
are allowed to work for more than one ridesharing company – and
it’s a popular way to earn income. According to Lyft, Broward is
their fastest-growing Florida county, more than tripling its drivers from
over a year ago. Lyft drivers are allowed to accept tips through the app
or in cash, while Uber is a cashless system (though some riders do give
cash tips). With both companies taking at least 25 percent of each fare,
some drivers may feel pressure to maximize profits through risky behavior
such as speeding, working long hours, or being by distracted by their
phones as they search for the next passenger.
As of July 1, 2017, drivers for ride-sharing companies in Florida must:
- Be 21 years old
- Have had no license suspensions or revocations in the last 3 years
- Pass a criminal background check
- Have a 4-door vehicle no older than 2007 that has passed inspection.
The legal issues surrounding rideshare accidents are highly complex, making
it critical to seek the advice of an attorney familiar with this emerging
area of law. As one of South Florida's most respected and oldest law
firms, Stabinski & Funt, P.A. has helped many people sort out their
legal rights, responsibilities and remedies. We are highly experienced
in handling car accident claims, and we work on a contingency basis, which
means that if there is no recovery, there is no fee or cost to you. If
you wish to learn more about how our firm can be of assistance to you,
we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 305-964-8644
or filling out a
free case evaluation form.