A fight that’s continued for literal years is one step closer to an ending, making Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Chris Sprowls the lawmakers of the day.
House bill 221 is now on its way to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott after the House pushed it through via 36-1 vote in the Senate.
The bill deals with ride sharing companies and the drivers. It would make sure an independent third party does a criminal back ground check on drivers. The bill, which has support from Uber and Lyft, also requires ride-booking companies to maintain $100,000 of coverage for bodily injury of death and $25,000 for property damage while the drive is working but doesn’t have a passenger. When there are passengers, the driver must have $1 million worth of coverage.
“Property Casualty Insurers Association of America commends the Florida Senate, as well as Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Chris Sprowls for their leadership and dedication to protecting rideshare passengers and drivers,” said Logan McFaddin, regional manager for PCI. “Currently, many transportation network company drivers rely on their personal auto insurance policy to cover them when their vehicle is being used for hire, which is a commercial activity. This leaves drivers and passengers at financial risk of paying repairs and medical costs out-of-pocket if an accident were to occur.”
Chelsea Harrison, Senior Policy Communications Manager for Lyft, issued the following statement after passage of ridesharing legislation by the Florida Senate:
“We applaud the Florida Senate, and especially Sen. Brandes, for passing a statewide framework for ridesharing. This legislation will provide certainty for the many Floridians who use the convenient and affordable transportation services offered by Lyft, and we encourage the Governor to sign this bill into law. We want to thank the Lyft community throughout Florida for standing up in support of ridesharing. We look forward to continuing to provide Florida’s residents and visitors with innovative transportation options that boost economic growth in communities across the Sunshine State.”
Traditional taxicab companies and local municipalities have been the long-time opposition of statewide regulations for ridesharing companies.
What this Means for Florida (once signed by Governor Rick Scott)
- Every Florida resident and visitor, no matter where they are located, will have access to ridesharing.
- This bill establishes the regulatory framework for the operation of TNCs in the State of Florida. The approved legislation provides regulatory certainty for TNC services in Florida by replacing a patchwork of conflicting local regulations with a unified statewide framework.
- These new regulations preempt local regulations designed to keep ridesharing out of multiple jurisdictions and facilities throughout Florida.
- The approved legislation allows an airport or seaport to charge reasonable pickup fees consistent with any pickup fees charged to taxicab companies at that airport or seaport for their use of the airport or seaport’s facilities. The legislation also allows the airport or seaport to designate locations for staging, pickup, and other similar operations at the airport or seaport.
Requirements Included in CS/HB221 for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)
- TNCs are required to display a picture and license plate number of the TNC driver on the digital platform before the passenger enters the vehicle;
- TNCs shall conduct criminal background checks of each prospective driver;
- TNCs shall disqualify prospective TNC drivers who are matches in the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website;
- A TNC must adopt a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy; and
- TNCs must obtain and review driving history research reports for each prospective TNC driver.
Minimum Insurance Standards
- Automobile liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 during a prearranged ride; and
- Requires a TNC to purchase primary insurance coverage and clarifies coverage responsibilities among insurers.