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Uber and Lyft Laws and Regulations in California

Millions of people use Lyft or Uber throughout California on any given day. Many of them even drive for the rideshare companies or know someone who does. But do you know the specific laws that govern Uber and Lyft drivers and passengers here in the Golden State? Keep reading to find out more.

Laws and Regulations that Protect Passengers

There are several statewide laws and regulations meant to protect Uber and Lyft passengers in California. The state agency tasked with regulating rideshare companies is the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Among the rules and laws they enforce are:

  • All rideshare drivers must clearly display Lyft and/or Uber decals on the front and back passenger side windshields of their vehicles while on the app.
  • Public Utilities Code 5445.2: All rideshare drivers must pass an annual background check.
  • SB 1014: All rideshare vehicles must meet stringent climate emission levels. The standards will become progressively stricter in the coming years. In addition, rideshare companies must commit to increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles used by their drivers.
  • The CPUC dictates that all drivers must undergo a vehicle inspection every 12 months or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. The 50,000-mile mark includes miles driven while not logged into the rideshare app.
  • Neither Lyft nor Uber drivers can refuse to pick up passengers with service dogs. They can’t request proof that the dog is a service animal either.

Laws and Regulations that Protect Drivers

Drivers are concerned about safety too. An increasing number of them are installing dashboard cameras in their cars. There are no laws or regulations at this time forbidding drivers from installing a video camera in their vehicles to protect themselves in the event of a crime or if there’s a liability issue. However, depending on the municipality, drivers may need to disclose the presence of the recording device to passengers when they get in the vehicle.

Drivers can also cancel rides that they believe could put a passenger at risk. For example, both Lyft and Uber instruct drivers to refuse service to anyone with an infant but without the proper child car seat for them.

Rideshare Grey Areas

The state of California has tried to address every possible scenario when it comes to rideshare safety for both drivers and passengers. However, there are a few grey areas that still exist:

Can an unaccompanied minor request a ride with Uber or Lyft?

According to both Uber and Lyft: no. Uber spells out its policy online, as does Lyft. Both rideshare companies instruct drivers to cancel a ride without fear of being penalized if the passenger is an unaccompanied minor. If they aren’t sure of the passenger’s age, they’re instructed to request ID.

But that hasn’t stopped a growing number of young people under the age of 18 from using Lyft or Uber. While some drivers adhere to Uber and Lyft policies and refuse to pick up anyone under the age of 18, others turn a blind eye and offer rides, especially between 2 and 4PM when there’s the most demand. To combat any questions of liability, many drivers have added dash cams as a precaution.

Interestingly, the state of California has no specific laws on the books regarding underage passengers and rideshares. There are laws and rules for transportation companies that primarily transport minors, such as school buses. But neither Uber nor Lyft falls into that category.

Right now, anyone under the age of 18 who requests a ride from Uber or Lyft is not breaking the law, but they are going against Uber and Lyft regulations. Therefore, drivers are free to turn down any ride request from a minor.

Are Uber and Lyft drivers now employees in California, and what does that mean for both drivers and passengers?

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Assembly Bill No. 5 into law. As the dust settles from that landmark new law’s passage, companies are scrambling to adjust before it goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

In short, this new law classifies many gig economy workers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers as employees. Currently, the rideshare giants consider the drivers to be independent contractors. What does all of this mean for drivers and passengers? It’s too soon to tell, but Uber and Lyft continue to fight back by proposing a new ballot measure. The measure, which would be on the November 2020 ballot if enough signatures are collected, would ask voters to exempt Uber and Lyft drivers from AB 5.

Injured in a Rideshare Accident? Call The Dominguez Firm Now!

Whether you were injured as a passenger, a driver, a cyclist or a pedestrian in a rideshare accident, your first course of action should be to call The Dominguez Firm right away. Waiting can jeopardize your case. Trying to take on a rideshare accident case by yourself can leave you shortchanged as a result.

The rideshare accident attorneys at The Dominguez Firm have the experience and results to make sure you receive the compensation that you’re entitled to. Call us at 800-818-1818 for a free and confidential consultation today. And you incur no out of pocket or upfront fees because you don’t pay unless we win. So call The Dominguez Firm today.


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