New New Jersey Legislation Aimed at Regulating Uber, Lyft Drivers
For the past few years, ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have become extremely popular throughout the country. These companies allow people to summon a ride with just a touch of a button on their smartphones. But questions have risen about ridesharing companies, specifically the drivers. Unlike taxi cabs and limos, where drivers have to have special licenses, Uber and Lyft drivers can be anyone.
This has been a cause of concern for many cities in the country and has led to a few lawsuits, the biggest being whether these drivers are employees of the companies or just contractor workers.
But now the New Jersey legislators have decided to do something about these companies. Last week, both houses of the Legislature introduced bills that are aimed at creating a regulatory framework that would allow the companies to operate while imposing new licensing requirements. The bills also contain requirements for insurance coverage, permit fees, and record-keeping inspections, just like taxi services. This will allow drivers the ability to move from one town to another and prevent cities and counties from imposing their own fees against drivers.
Included in these bills are criminal checks for drivers, though each bill differs as to how to go about doing it. One bill wants fingerprints of the drivers whereas the other bill requires a background check but doesn’t require fingerprints. Criminal background checks are essential for ridesharing drivers, especially after recent incidents in Kalamazzo, Michigan, where an Uber driver is accused of randomly shooting victims at three locations between fares.
We applaud New Jersey for its efforts in regulating Uber and Lyft drivers. Although a ridesharing program may seem more casual and easier to use, regulations need to be in place in order to protect New Jersey citizens. You never know who is behind a wheel.
If you have a legal matter in New Jersey and need assistance, contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone now for a free consultation.