Amid concerns over the safety, lack of insurance, and liability of popular ridesharing services, last Friday, Governor Chris Christie signed the Transportation Network Company Safety and Regulatory Act into law.
The new law brings with it regulations and standards for ridesharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to the state of New Jersey, making it the 36th state in the country to do so.
Whereas before drivers only needed to have minimal insurance coverage, the new law now requires them to carry a combined amount of $1.5 million of liability coverage, as well as $1.5 million uninsured/underinsured coverage for incidents when there is a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle.
Under the new law, drivers – who must be a minimum of 21 years of age – who work for the companies will now be required to undergo a thorough driving and background check.
If a driver has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, possession of a controlled substance, sexual assault, or homicide, they cannot be employed by a ridesharing company. Drivers would also be disqualified if they have three or more moving violations on their driving record.
Drivers will also be required to submit proof of a valid driver’s license, as well as registration and insurance on their vehicle. Companies must now keep a record of every driver’s ride history for five years. If a complaint is filed against the driver, the company must turn over those records if the state requests them.
Ridesharing companies will also be required to register with the state and pay a fee of $25,000.
Neither the company nor a driver will be able to assert a limitation on a lawsuit option for any customer who is injured in a vehicle accident while using the service.
There is also protection for customers from being discriminated on the basis of race, color, national origin, religious affiliation, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or destination. Customers will also be entitled to know how fare calculations are arrived at.
The three-year journey to enact this bill was a long and rocky one, and at one point Uber threatened they would close their operations in the state.
On the other side of the fight were officials from limousine and taxi companies, pushing for lawmakers to require that ridesharing companies be required to adhere to the same regulations they have to, such as fingerprinting and drug testing.
There are about 20,000 people in the state of New Jersey who are working or have worked as ridesharing drivers, and according to figures proved from the ridesharing companies themselves, these services have helped to boost the state’s economy.
Last November, Lyft announced the results of a study they did which estimated that the company had saved customers who used their service one million hours in travel time.
The company calculated the price of these hours at $18 million. They also calculated these hours into $19.3 million of extra spending all across the state of New Jersey.
If you have been injured in a car accident with a ride-sharing service car, contact our team of skilled New Jersey accident attorneys to begin your quest for legal compensation.