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States Worry About Rideshare Services (Should You?)

Whether for business or personal travel, your employees can easily summon a rideshare driver with the push of a smartphone button. What they (and you) may not think to ask is what happens when things go wrong.

Thankfully, states are asking this—and not liking what they find. In fact, New Jersey recently became the 14th state to issue warnings about the risks of using rideshares like Uber, Lyft, or Sidecar. In the interest of public safety, states are warning passengers that while rideshare drivers may have personal auto insurance, this doesn’t necessarily mean they have adequate coverage in the event of an accident.

Additionally, rideshare companies have ensured they are protected from liability with clear provisions in their Terms & Conditions. For example, an excerpt from Uber’s Terms & Conditions as of January 2016 states:

“UBER SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA, PERSONAL INJURY, OR PROPERTY DAMAGE RELATED TO, IN CONNECTION WITH, OR OTHERWISE RESULTING FROM ANY USE OF THE SERVICES, EVEN IF UBER HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.”

States and municipalities are struggling to determine how best to deal with these unregulated independent drivers trolling their streets for fares. Three states, California, Colorado, and Illinois, have designed bills to create new rideshare specific regulations, and many others are following suit.

Additionally, states are expressing concern over rideshare companies’ lack of adequate driver screenings and background checks. Companies like Uber and Lyft have established themselves as technology platforms as opposed to transportation services, making them immune to regulations for chauffeurs and taxi drivers.

To protect its citizens and tourists, Austin, Texas, this year passed city regulations that require drivers to be fingerprinted. Unwilling to comply with the new ordinance, Uber and Lyft ceased local operations.

State and federal regulators are certain to make rideshare services align to the safety best practices that have been in place for years for the ground transportation industry. Until then, you should be mindful of the transportation providers your employees use, particularly as duty of care—a corporation’s legal responsibility to protect its employees that are traveling—has become a critical component to reducing corporate risk.

When it comes to commercial auto insurance, your provider should have a minimum $1 million policy—GroundLink’s maintains a $6 million minimum coverage. Additionally, the provider you work with should have an extensive process that ensures only qualified individuals are put behind the wheel. Thorough background checks, proper licensing and impeccable driving records are all must-haves when choosing chauffeurs. GroundLink takes these requirements a step further and mandates that all drivers have at least two years of commercial driving experience, and that drivers sign a confidentiality pledge to ensure that a passenger’s personal information is not made public.

To learn more about protecting your travelers and GroundLink’s duty of care standards, download our whitepaper, Protecting Your Travelers: Duty of Care for Ground Transportation.

 

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