How Drivers are Impacted by Changes in Florida's Ridesharing Regulations

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 Law 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.

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