After experiencing the widespread presence of Uber, Lyft, and similar companies operating in most areas around the country, New York City has become one of the first cities to impose special regulations on the ridesharing giants. It took years of waiting, but the recent state budget has made specific provisions to allow for the expansion of ridesharing services into various NYC areas.
It doesn’t come freely, however, as ridesharing companies that wish to do business in the New York area must abide by some new rules. These rules impact the type of drivers who may work through these app, their insurance policies, and much more. And if you get into an accident with a rideshare driver, this stuff is good to know.
New Laws for Rideshare Companies
For starters, any driver who wishes to work for a ridesharing company must be over the age of 19 years old. They must also pass a tougher evaluation than before, which includes passing a background check, submitting their fingerprints, and having at least the minimum amount of insurance on their personal vehicles.
Last year, the New York City Council voted to freeze all new for-hire vehicle licenses in order to increase, among other things, the pay for current drivers. Supporters of the freeze are of the opinion that this will improve the market conditions for rideshare companies and make it easier for drivers to make ends meet. On the other hand, opponents of the ruling are concerned that this will make it more difficult for people from underserved communities to have access to rideshare services.
Under New York law, rideshare companies are classified as “transportation network companies” (TNC). Anyone who wishes to be a driver for a TNC must also be authorized separately by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission. By law, every TNC must track the license status of its drivers, allowing TNCs to restrict the privileges of drivers who have license suspensions or violations from picking up passengers.
Insurance for Rideshare Drivers
At the very minimum, all drivers in New York are required to have insurance in place to cover property damage, death, and bodily injury to another person. The liability coverage requirements for TNC drivers are divided up based on whether they have accepted a passenger for a ride or not:
- When there is no passenger in the car, Uber/Lyft drivers are required to have an insurance policy set at $75,000 per person for death or bodily injury to another, $25,000 for property damage to another, and $150,000 per occurrence for death and bodily injury to more than one person.
- After a driver has accepted a passenger and is driving to their destination, Uber and Lyft must provide minimum liability coverage of $1.25 million, along with an additional $1.25 million for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
When it comes to stepping into a stranger’s car, it’s important that you have the right protection. While it may be comforting to know that your driver has insurance in the event of a crash, it’s also vital to know that you have options beyond your driver’s personal liability policy—also, that Uber and Lyft would prefer not to give their insurance money to accident victims.
At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, we have helped countless victims of serious car accidents in NYC to receive the financial compensation they deserve. We fight for your rights against the responsible parties, and we’re pretty successful doing so. To learn more, contact our team at (212) 986-7353.