Vehicle and Driver Requirements for Uber and Lyft
Rideshare operators had many legal issues in their early years due to their failure to screen drivers. During that time, assaults, thefts, and accidents resulted in many injured passengers and road users.
In 2015, states started regulating rideshare companies and their hiring practices. Seeing the writing on the wall, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft started imposing greater restrictions on who could drive for them and what they could drive.
Here is a summary of the driver and vehicle requirements for Uber and Lyft in Florida and how a failure to comply with these requirements might affect your compensation after an Uber accident.
Where Driver and Vehicle Requirements Come from
Uber began operating in 2009, and Lyft began soon afterward in 2012. When these companies began operating, they faced a lot of skepticism.
Rideshare companies fell between cracks in the laws that regulated taxis and other businesses that carried passengers. And unlike taxi and limousine companies, Uber and Lyft seemed to have no liability for the acts of their drivers, who were independent contractors.
This liability immunity changed in 2014 when Colorado and California became the first states to regulate rideshare operators. These regulations imposed hiring requirements on the rideshare companies and limited the vehicles their drivers could use.
In 2021, Oregon became the final state to pass Uber and Lyft requirements. Every state plus Washington D.C. now has one or more of the following:
- Insurance requirements
- Driver requirements
- Vehicle requirements
Every state imposes requirements on the insurance that rideshare operators and their drivers must carry. Five states impose insurance requirements but not driver and vehicle requirements. The remaining 45 states and Washington D.C. impose requirements on the insurance drivers must carry, plus the drivers’ qualifications.
Florida falls into the latter category. Under Florida law, drivers and their vehicles must meet several requirements. Uber and Lyft cannot hire anyone who fails to meet the driver requirements. And they cannot allow them to drive vehicles that fail to meet the insurance or vehicle requirements.
State laws set the minimum requirements for drivers and vehicles. The rideshare companies can impose requirements that expand the state’s requirements.
For example, the minimum age for drivers is a requirement that rideshare companies often impose, even if it is not required by state law. Florida has no minimum age requirement for rideshare drivers. But Uber and Lyft only sign up drivers at least 21 years old.
Driver Requirements in Florida
Florida law imposes several requirements for rideshare drivers. These requirements include:
Criminal History Check
The rideshare company must conduct a criminal history check or hire a third party to conduct a criminal history check.
In Florida, you cannot pass a criminal history check if, within the past five years, you:
- Have a felony conviction
- Have a misdemeanor conviction for intoxicated driving, reckless driving, hit and run, or fleeing the police
- Were convicted of a violent offense, sexual battery, lewdness, or indecent exposure
- Appear on the US Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Website, regardless of when the offense occurred
The rideshare companies can supplement these requirements with additional offenses or time limits, but they cannot reduce them.
Driving Record Check
Rideshare companies must conduct a driving record check. The companies cannot hire a driver if the driving record check shows:
- You have a conviction for driving on a suspended or revoked license within the past three years
- You do not have a valid driver’s license
- You do not have proof of registration for the vehicle you plan to drive
Again, the rideshare companies can impose higher requirements than Florida, but they cannot impose looser requirements.
Every driver must carry liability insurance. If the driver cannot secure the necessary insurance policy, the rideshare company must provide it.
Florida requires drivers to carry liability insurance for when the driver drives to pick up passengers of:
- $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for death and bodily injury
- $25,000 for property damage
- Personal injury protection (PIP) benefits under Florida’s no-fault insurance system
- Uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage
Florida also requires drivers or rideshare operators to carry liability insurance while carrying passengers of at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage, in addition to the PIP benefits and uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage.
Florida does not impose vehicle requirements on Uber or Lyft drivers. But the companies have minimum vehicle requirements.
For Uber drivers, a vehicle must:
- Be less than 15 years old
- Have at least four doors
- Have no cosmetic damage
- Have no commercial branding
For Lyft drivers, a vehicle must:
- Be 2010 model year or newer
- Have at least four doors and at least five seats
- Not be a taxi or stretch limousine
- Not be a rental vehicle
- Not have a salvage, non-repairable, rebuilt title
These requirements increase the likelihood that your Uber or Lyft driver has a safe vehicle. But since neither Florida nor the rideshare companies require a safety inspection, it does not guarantee a safe vehicle.
Compliance and Compensation After an Uber or Lyft Accident
The rules and regulations governing rideshare drivers and vehicles are intended to protect passengers and other road users. Suppose that a rideshare company hires someone who fails to meet the legal requirements or allows them to drive a non-compliant vehicle. In that case, you might have a claim against the rideshare operator for negligent hiring.
But even if a rideshare company complied with all the driver and vehicle requirements, it still bears liability for any accidents that arise from its driver’s negligence. When any driver in Florida causes an accident resulting in expensive or permanent injuries, you can pursue injury claims against the driver’s and rideshare company’s liability policies.
Uber and Lyft accidents can injure passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. These injuries may require costly medical treatment and therapy. They may also disable you from working and engaging in other activities.
If you were in an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, contact a personal injury lawyer to learn about the compensation you can seek. Bagget Law offers free consultations.
Contact the Jacksonville Car Accident Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256
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Jacksonville, FL 32202