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Ridesharing Regulations in California

Posted on February 5, 2024 in Personal Injury

Ridesharing is now a major part of the transportation industry, with millions of Uber and Lyft vehicles transporting passengers around the globe. Unfortunately, not all rideshare rides end well. Thousands of victims have suffered serious injuries and lost their lives in Uber and Lyft accidents. California has passed various ridesharing regulations in an effort to improve public safety.

TNC Laws in California 

Ridesharing services fall under the classification of “Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)” in California law. These are companies that provide prearranged transportation services for a fee using an app or another online-enabled platform that connects drivers directly to passengers. 

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has passed laws for the operation of a TNC within the state. These laws involve the following:  

  • Licensing, permit and certification requirements
  • Mandatory Lyft and/or Uber decals on a vehicle’s front and back passenger-side windshields
  • Insurance requirements, including vehicle liability and workers’ compensation insurance
  • Minimum TNC driver age requirement of 21 years old, with at least one year of driving history
  • Department of Motor Vehicle record checks required for all TNC drivers
  • Annual background checks required for all TNC drivers
  • Mandatory driver training programs to ensure drivers are safely operating their vehicles
  • Accessibility plans for individuals with disabilities
  • A Zero Tolerance Policy for drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Required vehicle inspections once per year or every 50,000 miles, whichever comes first
  • Prohibition against TNC drivers accepting street hails from potential passengers
  • Prohibition against TNC drivers transporting more than seven passengers per ride

If Uber, Lyft or another ridesharing company is found to be delinquent in following any of these laws, it could face penalties. The CPUC accepts complaints from the public regarding ridesharing services or drivers who are in violation of any of the state’s TNC laws.

Mandatory Rideshare Insurance in California

In 2014, the Governor of California approved Assembly Bill No. 2293, a law that requires TNCs to carry minimum amounts of insurance coverage for bodily injury, death and property damage. All ridesharing services in the state (including Uber and Lyft) must maintain commercial liability insurance policies with at least $1 million in coverage per accident for incidents involving vehicles and drivers while they are providing TNC services. 

Furthermore, TNCs must provide no less than $1 million in uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage. Finally, TNCs must carry liability insurance of at least $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident in death and personal injury insurance, as well as $30,000 in property damage insurance, when a driver is logged onto the TNC app until a ride is accepted. TNC commercial liability insurance must cover claims regardless of whether a rideshare driver maintains adequate insurance to cover any portion of the claim.

Liability for Ridesharing Accidents in California

If a driver is working for a Transportation Network Company at the time of a car accident, the company can share liability (financial responsibility) for the collision. The amount that the TNC will be held responsible for depends on the phase that the ride was in at the time of the crash. 

The full $1 million in coverage is available to victims injured by an at-fault ridesharing driver while he or she has accepted a ride and is en route to pick up a passenger or when a passenger is in the vehicle. If the TNC driver is not at fault for the crash, the at-fault driver or a third party can be held liable through their own insurance policy, instead.

If you get injured in an Uber or Lyft accident in California, explore your legal rights and recovery options with an attorney at Rose, Klein & Marias LLP. We offer free case consultations.