As a ridesharing injury law firm, we pay extra close attention to laws that impact our ridesharing injury, clients. House Bill 221 Re: Transportation Network Companies that impacts Florida ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft seems all but agreed to by Florida lawmakers. HB 221 requires the Lyft and Uber office in Miami, Lyft Miami (and statewide) to adopt a zero-tolerance policy should their drivers be caught with drugs or alcohol.
Who’s Responsible: The regional Uber office Miami, Lyft Miami
While Uber’s office in Miami and Lyft Miami are primarily targeted in South Florida, this law applies to all ridesharing companies statewide. Florida lawmakers want to bring ridesharing compliance standards in line with what is seen nationwide.
HB221 also proposes to improve and create uniformity with the types of background checks Lyft and Uber are required to conduct on their drivers. The bill also wants Lyft Miami and Uber office Miami to require their rideshare drivers to conform to anti-discrimination policies involving allowing guide dogs and service animals in ridesharing vehicles.
Taxicab companies and some municipalities oppose the statewide law because taxis are often regulated, and taxed, at the local level.
Will Requiring Uber and Lyft to Accept Service Animals Cause More Uber Accident Claims?
Forcing Lyft and Uber drivers to take service animals on rides with passengers, presents some interesting challenges from an Uber car accident lawyer perspective.
I’m not saying I oppose this requirement, I’m just saying it presents safety challenges. I want differently-abled Lyft and Uber passengers to be able to enjoy the convenience of Uber and Lyft, just like everybody else. But, I can’t help wonder if the service animals, on occasion, would just increase the number of distractions that might increase the chances of an Uber or Lyft car accident. For every Judy Mathews (the blind woman featured in the Orlando Sentinel article I link to in the Uber Car Accident Attorney Resources section below), how many people are abusing the service animal laws? I have my own friends who really don’t need a “service animal for emotional support” but get the paperwork from a doctor only to be able to bring their dog into restaurants and on airplanes. In this regard – not all “service animals” are well trained – and a misbehaving dog on an Uber ride, I think, is more likely to result in an Uber car accident injury or just more Uber claims in general.
Furthermore, what if Uber or Lyft drivers are allergic to the service animal? Some people will immediately experience itchy/watery eyes, running/stuffy noses and get headaches within a few seconds of exposure to a dog or cat that sheds fur. Doesn’t this make Uber accident claims more likely? Not only for the ridesharing passenger who has the service animal, but for subsequent passenger even after the animal has left the car, but left their dander behind?
As perhaps a balancing alternative, I would imagine that some Lyft and Uber drivers would be at a competitive advantage if they could voluntarily select, “this uber accepts service animals.” I just wonder if it makes more sense to allow uber drivers to voluntarily accept service animals, rather than forcing them to accept animals by law.
I get that this is controversial and again, I’m not arguing against the bill per se. I fully support the ADA, I want handicapped individuals to have equal access to everything and I think Uber and Lyft present wonderful opportunities to improve the ability of those with physical handicaps to get where they need to go. I just want to think through some of these issues and see if there might be a balance between equality and safety.
In South Florida, perhaps some tweaking of the law will give the administrators at Lyft Miami and in the Uber Office Miami the ability to both ensure Floridians with disabilities have the same opportunity to enjoy the ridesharing services now available with an eye towards safety as well.
Uber Car Accident Attorney Resources