Vehicle and Driver Requirements for Uber and Lyft in Florida
June 14, 2023 | Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers | Uber/Lyft Accident
Rideshare companies have only existed since 2009, when Uber launched its mobile app. Lyft followed three years later. These two rideshare operators have virtually cornered the market for online ride-hailing services.
In their early years, rideshare services had a poor reputation for rider safety. Stories circulated about drivers stalking and assaulting passengers, using substandard vehicles, and driving without insurance.
California was the first to regulate rideshares in 2013. Florida followed with its rideshare laws in 2017. Oregon became the 50th state to enforce rideshare company regulations in 2022.
Florida’s Rideshare Requirements
Requirements for rideshare drivers and vehicles come from two primary sources. State laws set the minimum requirements for Florida rideshare companies. As long as drivers and vehicles satisfy the state laws, the rideshare companies can avoid any enforcement actions by Florida’s authorities.
As a result, the rideshare companies adopt policies that meet these requirements and implement these policies for all new drivers and vehicles.
But in some cases, rideshare companies enact policies that go beyond Florida law. These company policies provide the second source of driver and vehicle requirements. Drivers and vehicles must comply with these policies to receive fares on the app. If they do not comply, the rideshare company does not risk an enforcement action.
For example, Florida law does not set a minimum age for rideshare drivers. But both Uber and Lyft have minimum ages for drivers. Uber also requires a minimum amount of driving experience.
Uber and Lyft Driver Requirements in Florida
Florida has several documentary requirements. For example, applicants need a driver’s license, vehicle registration, proof of residency, and a photo. But applicants to drive in Florida must also meet several substantive requirements.
These driver requirements in Florida fall into three primary categories:
Criminal Background Check
Florida requires all applicants to undergo a criminal background check. This background check covers national criminal databases. As a result, Uber and Lyft can view the applicant’s entire criminal history, regardless of the location of the arrest or conviction.
Florida law requires Uber and Lyft to reject an applicant who has a conviction within the past five years for:
- Any felony
- Misdemeanor DUI, hit-and-run, or fleeing a police officer
- Misdemeanor sexual battery, lewdness, or indecent exposure
- Any misdemeanor violent offense, including homicide, assault, or robbery
The law also requires the rideshare operator to reject applicants who appear on the national sex offender registry, regardless of when their offenses occurred.
Driving Record Check
Uber and Lyft must conduct a driving record check.
Uber and Lyft cannot approve a driver for their networks who:
- Was convicted within the past three years of driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license
- Has more than three moving violations in the preceding three years
The law does not limit which violations disqualify a driver. Instead, all moving violations, whether speeding or reckless driving, get counted among the disqualifying violations.
Beyond the driving record check, Uber requires drivers to have a certain level of driving experience. Drivers must have been licensed for:
- At least one year if they are 25 years or older
- At least three years if they are younger than 25 years old
Lyft requires at least one year of driving experience in some states but not in Florida.
Auto Insurance Requirements
All drivers in Florida must have proof of financial responsibility if they get into a crash. Most drivers meet this requirement by purchasing liability insurance. This type of insurance pays for injuries or property damage after a car accident.
Florida’s rideshare laws determine a driver’s insurance requirements based on what the driver is doing.
When a driver is logged into the rideshare operator’s system, the driver must have auto insurance with:
- At least $50,000 per person up to $100,000 per accident in bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage
- $25,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage
- $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage under Florida’s no-fault insurance law
- Uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage
When a driver is carrying passengers, the driver’s insurance combined with the rideshare company’s insurance must cover at least $1 million in BIL and death benefits. This insurance pays for any injuries to passengers, motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists in Uber accidents or Lyft accidents caused by the rideshare driver.
Uber and Lyft Vehicle Requirements in Florida
Florida does not have special vehicle requirements for rideshare vehicles. Rideshare companies can allow drivers to use any vehicle that is validly registered and insured in the state. Thus, under Florida state laws, an Uber driver could drive an old, beat-up car as long as it has no mechanical, electrical, or safety issues.
But Uber and Lyft impose strict requirements on vehicles through their company policies. These policies can vary based on the city.
But in general, Uber requires a driver to have a vehicle that is:
- Less than 17 years old
- A four-door vehicle
- In good condition without cosmetic damage
- Free of any commercial advertising
- Marked with an Uber sticker
Lyft requires drivers to use vehicles that are:
- 2011 model year or newer
- Four-door vehicles
- Five to eight-seat vehicles
- Not a taxi, limousine, or rental car not rented from Lyft
- Not listed as salvage or rebuilt vehicles on their titles
Instead of stickers, Lyft provides drivers with a removable emblem. They must display the emblem when they log into the app and remove the emblem when they log out of the app.
Consequences of Violating Uber and Lyft Driver or Vehicle Requirements
When Uber or Lyft accepts a driver in violation of the law, the state can fine the company. If a driver violates company policies by using an unapproved vehicle, the rideshare company can kick them off the app.
But the greater risk to both the company and the driver arises if a rideshare driver causes a crash while violating company policies or the law.
If Uber or Lyft accept a driver who does not meet their criteria, they may have acted negligently in screening the driver. As a result, the rideshare company might become liable to anyone injured by the driver.
Similarly, suppose that a driver knowingly violates Uber or Lyft vehicle requirements and causes an accident. The driver might be liable for the crash if their insurance does not pay the damages.
When you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s important to understand the responsibilities drivers and rideshare companies may have toward you. Learning about vehicle and driver requirements can help you fight for adequate compensation.
Contact the Tampa Uber/Lyft Accidents Law Firm of Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a Uber/Lyft Accidents lawyer in Tampa today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.
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