No More “Free Ride” for Uber

“Ridesharing” has increasingly become a transportation option for people on the go. Unlike traditional taxis, this mode of transit allows people to use their own cars and their own time to pick people up. These drivers choose their own time to drive, and through the use of apps are able to pick up riders who select where they want to be picked up and where they want to go.

The rise in popularity of ridesharing has made it difficult for regulators to keep up and ensure that the companies that provide for this service are keeping their riders safe and that they are being held accountable for the actions of the drivers they employ. Legislation was heard this week in the Commerce and Transportation and Public Safety Committees to clarify insurance coverage for transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft.

The proposed legislation requires commercial coverage in the three stages of the process; beginning when the TNC driver logs onto the TNC app, through the ride with the passenger, ending when the driver logs off the app. This coverage would differ from taxis, in that taxis have commercial coverage at all times. This bill also clarifies terms of collision and underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.

In addition, the bill aims to offer clarity and guidelines for TNCs and participating drivers. Some of the other key proposals of this bill are:

  • The TNC and participating driver are required to maintain a plan of transportation network financial responsibility that meets the requirements of the bill, either individually or in combination.
  • The TNC is required to provide the participating driver with the details of the transportation network financial responsibility plan, the limits of liability, and how the driver’s plan may not provide coverage in connection with the TNC’s activities.
  • The liability insurance cannot be less than $1 million. This was originally set at $1.5 million, but was amended in the Commerce Committee hearing.
  • This insurance must not require any other insurance to first deny the claim or have the participating driver’s insurance be the first to deny the claim to trigger coverage.

The bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee. (S.F. 1679)

Senate DFL Media