Several companies are revolutionizing the traditional transportation-for-hire
industry. Today anybody can get a ride from a local private driver for
a reduced rate at a click of an app on a smartphone. But changing the
transportation-for-hire landscape has some wondering whether this new
way to get a ride culture needs more regulation to keep the public safe.
Currently states have very little regulation of this industry outside
of typical traffic laws.
Unlike these new companies, historically the taxicab industry has been
heavily regulated by Florida laws. For example, taxicab drivers are required to
carry minimum insurance requirements that far out number the requirements of
private drivers. And since private drivers are becoming the new taxicab
drivers for these companies, some lawmakers are worried. One Florida lawmaker
has introduced a bill that would increase insurance minimums for these
online taxicab companies. Additionally, many taxicab companies require
their drivers to go through extensive training and background screening
before they are allowed to drive.
Florida Bill to Increase Insurance Minimum
SB 1298 is the proposed legislation at issue. Essentially the bill would allow
Florida to establish insurance minimums for drivers who provide rides
for a fee through an online service. It is expected that the insurance
requirements would mirror the insurance requirements that current taxicab
companies face. This proposal would be aimed at not only protecting the
public, but also making sure that all the companies are playing on an
The companies that would be affected do not
support the law. According to at least one executive, current insurance minimums
are more than enough to protect drivers and passengers alike.
Online Companies and Drivers Not Exempt from Negligence Laws
Whether new laws are passed that regulate online taxi-like services or
not, other Florida laws are in full effect. Florida's negligence laws
apply to any driver on Florida's roads, and if those drivers are employed
by a company, the company may be liable as well through respondeat superior.
Respondeat superior is a legal doctrine that makes companies responsible
for the conduct of their employees, as long as the employee is acting
within the scope of their job. Under Florida law there are three parts
to whether someone is acting within the scope of their job:
- Was the employee doing the kind of work he or she was employed to do?
- Did the harmful act happen during the time when the employee is supposed
to be working?
- Was the employee acting, at least in part, on behalf of the employer?
As you can see, if a driver for one of these online companies got in an
accident, all of these elements could be met. That means that not only
the driver would be liable, but the company could be as well.
Contact an Attorney Today
Wes Pittman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of the injured. If
you are injured in an accident involving a taxicab, a driver for an online
taxicab-like company, or anyone else,
contact The Pittman Firm to ensure that you are fairly and justly compensated for any damages.