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New Florida Uber, Lyft Regulations Go Into Effect in Florida

Statewide rules on Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing services went into effect earlier this month, after Gov. Rick Scott agreed to create uniformity as it relates to the services, which had previously been regulated by a patchwork of local statutes.

The new law went into effect July 1st. HB 221 establishes long-debated statewide regulations for so-called “transportation network companies.” The new law, codified now in F.S. 627.748, sets forth a number of provisions these rideshare services will have to meet, some of which the companies had been voluntarily following anyway.

Among the provisions of the bill:

  • Insurance for bodily injury and death is $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident and $25,000 per property damage while the driver is logged into the app. This can be paid by the driver’s own plan, through the insurance provided by the rideshare company or some combination of both.
  • Insurance for bodily injury and death of $1 million when the company is engaged in an active ride with a passenger.
  • Rideshare services will be required to conduct background checks on their drivers.
  • Drivers will be required to show their picture and license plate numbers to riders before they are picked up.

The state law preempts local ordinances, such as Orlando’s rule requiring a $250 registration fee for ridesharing vehicles – something Uber and other rideshare companies had previously voiced consternation. It also preempts the rule in Miami-Dade, which fought hard to regulate Uber and other competitors, which held Uber and other ridesharing services to much stiffer standards, including mechanic inspections of vehicles, company logos on vehicles and license fees.

The law will allow local governments to set rules for how the services operate in airports and ports. In some areas, such as in West Palm Beach, Uber and Lyft drivers pay the city $2.50 for every passenger transported.

While the minimum insurance limits required exceed what’s required of private passenger car operators, it’s far less than what these companies offer when the vehicle is in route with a passenger. When a driver is logged on to the app and is carrying a passenger, the companies offer a $1 million bodily injury liability limit. However, if the driver is logged onto the app but does not have a passenger, the lower $50,000/ $100,000/ $25,000 limits would apply. The law also mandates standard personal injury protection coverage for drivers, which is the same $10,000 minimum as for all other passenger car drivers. Uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage is also mandated.

If you are injured in a crash with an Orlando Uber driver, our car accident attorneys can help you recover damages – particularly if it was the rideshare company driver at-fault. Although rideshare companies are adamant that these drivers are independent contractors, not employees (as would trigger a finding of vicarious liability for the negligence), these insurance policies will nonetheless kick in when the drivers are at-fault.

These companies have been subjected to varying rules in all 67 counties in the state and more than 500 cities and towns. The new state rules set forth clear requirements of what will be expected no matter where the Uber driver operates in Florida. Regulation of these firms will now fall under the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

Lyft, Uber regs among new Florida laws going into effect Saturday, June 29, 2017, By Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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