Until now, Uber, Lyft and the transportation network companies (TNC) have dealt with local governments on a county by county basis. However, in January 2017 proposed legislation was filed in the Florida Legislature which is widely viewed as favorable to the TNC companies like Uber and Lyft. This is potentially good news for Florida consumers as well as Uber car accident lawyers and Lyft injury attorneys.
Uber, as the market leader in Florida, has taken the lead in the battles against local governments. Lyft typically waited for the dust to settle and fell in line with the results obtained by Uber. These battles were on display in South Florida over the past few years with Broward County taking the lead in fighting against Uber.
Broward County banned Uber and Lyft for more than 4 months after negotiations broke down with Uber. Unfortunately for Broward County commissioners, the public outcry and backlash was overwhelming. In the end, Broward County essentially complied and gave in to the terms that Uber demanded. Not long after a deal was reached between Uber and Broward County both Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County fell in line.
Now the Florida Legislature is finally addressing what should have been a state level decision all along. Senate Bill 340 and House Bill 221 were filed in early January 2017. These bills generally propose:
- Driver background checks but not requiring fingerprints. This was one of Uber’s non-negotiable points not only in Florida but nationwide as well. In fact, Uber and Lyft view all negotiations on a national and global scale because whatever they agree to in one market will likely end up the new standard in all markets. Uber’s argument was one of cost – fingerprint background checks are expensive for Uber and Lyft. These TNCs argued that the background checks, criminal and driving, were sufficient.
- Prohibition of local governments from any attempt to regulate TNCs. This would be accomplished in the form of pre-emption language in the bills which would help drivers and consumers from having to operate under an inconsistent and confusing “patchwork of regulations” throughout the state. It is in the best interests of TNCs like Uber and Lyft to operate under statewide regulations and laws provided those rules are agreeable to the TNC industry. This would prevent counties, cities and municipalities from reaching “deals” with TNCs such as the one Broward obtained for payment of Fort Lauderdale International Airport past fees before an agreement was reached.
- Mandatory insurance requirements. This is perhaps the number one concern for consumers and Uber car accident attorneys and Lyft accident lawyers. The proposed bills require TNCs to provide $1 million in coverage while Uber or Lyft drivers are providing rides. Additionally, if drivers are “on the clock” but not actively engaged in providing a ride, the bills would require bodily injury and death coverage of 50/100 ($50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident). The bills would also require property damage coverage in the amount of $25,000 which exceeds the statutorily mandated property damage coverage of $10,000 for every vehicle.
Future of Florida Legislation for Uber, Lyft and TNCs
Our Uber and Lyft accident lawyers in Miami, Broward and Palm Beach fully expect that the proposed legislation will pass with terms that are favorable to all present and future TNCs. It is also anticipated that the Governor of Florida will sign this legislation into law.
In the future, we should expect some attempt to reduce the amounts of required insurance coverage. In our analysis, this would be the next logical step. If Uber and Lyft fought against fingerprint background investigation based on cost, then reducing the amount of required insurance coverage would result in lower premiums which would ultimately benefit the bottom line of Uber, Lyft and any other TNC that may enter the Florida marketplace.
This is something for all of us to keep an eye on and to be prepared to fight against. If Uber and Lyft used a promise of $1 million in coverage to get the legislation they desired, then they should also be held to account in the future if, and when, they try to renege on that promise.
Uber Car Accident Attorneys and Lyft Injury Lawyers serving Miami and South Florida
At Wolfson & Leon, our Uber accident lawyers and Lyft injury attorneys represent passengers, consumers and drivers in any type of personal injury claim. We offer free consultations and handle all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis meaning that you will not owe anything unless we make a recovery for you. Call us today at (305) 285-1115 and let us answer your questions.