What Florida’s New Ridesharing Law Means for Your Safety

Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft have grown in popularity in recent years, giving consumers an alternative to limo and cab companies. Convenience and the relatively low cost of service, have helped these services develop rapidly across the country. Many cities, however, have pushed back against them, and enacted local laws meant to keep these ridesharing companies from operating within their jurisdiction. Florida’s new ridesharing law creates a statewide set of standards allowing ridesharing companies to operate throughout the state of Florida, superseding any local regulations. Here’s what the new ridesharing law means for your safety.

Requirements for Ridesharing Services

The new law creates some requirements for any transportation network company (TNC) operating a ridesharing service within the state of Florida.

The ridesharing service is required to:

  • Adopt a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use while driving.
  • Conduct criminal background checks of every prospective driver.
  • Review driving history reports for each prospective driver.
  • Not allow drivers who are on the National Sex Offender Public Website to operate.
  • Display a picture and license plate number of the driver before the passenger enters the vehicle.

These policies are meant to ensure that riders are safe from irresponsible drivers, as well as those who may be a threat to passengers. In addition, the requirement to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use should protect potential passengers as well as protecting other drivers on the road from drivers under the influence.

Insurance Requirements for Ridesharing Drivers

Drivers working for a ridesharing service are subject to higher liability insurance minimums than typical drivers. Under the new law, ridesharing drivers are required to obtain $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person, $100,000 for death and bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. These limits are substantially higher than Florida’s standard automobile insurance minimum requirements and should provide greater protection for those injured in an accident by drivers for ridesharing services.

Potential Safety Problems Posed by the New Law

While the above protections do go a long way toward protecting public safety, the new law does have some critics who say it does not do enough for safety. Limousine and taxi companies complain that ridesharing services do not operate under the same safety standards they are required to comply with.

Particularly, the vehicles the ridesharing drivers provide are not subject to the same inspections that limo and taxi cab service vehicles must pass before being deemed safe for travel. Critics warn that the number of miles driven by these vehicles may result in automotive malfunctions due to improper or negligent maintenance. Vehicle breakdowns may result in problems ranging from minor inconveniences to passengers, to potentially dangerous situations for both passengers and other vehicles. These vehicles may not be as well maintained as service vehicles provided by traditional taxi companies. The consumer ultimately will make the determination of whether the current system is safe enough. Time will tell if Florida’s new legislation and rideshare industry requirements will prove effective and beneficial for Fort Lauderdale residents.