Arizona Bill Affecting Uber and Lyft Services Debated

Uber and Lyft, both ridesharing programs, are aggressively campaigning in support of proposed House Bill 2273 that aims to regulate ridesharing companies. The House Bill would specifically require programs, like Uber and Lyft, to provide a minimum $1 million insurance coverage and to conduct criminal background checks and driver’s license checks of drivers. Additionally, it would require cars driven by Uber and Lyft employees to be inspected annually.

The caveat of HB 2273 that is creating opposition is the exemption from regulations that apply to taxi drivers and would prohibit cities and municipalities from enacting their own regulations for ridesharing programs. As the bill stands today, companies are not required to provide insurance coverage at all times. The driver is under coverage from pick-up point to drop-off point, but would not be under the company’s insurance policy for driving done in between customers.

Many argue that this is unfair and a matter of public safety. An amendment to HB 2273, the McComish amendment, would require companies to provide insurance coverage at all times a driver is on the job, not just when a passenger is in the car. The amendment would also require drug testing. The need for this amendment is being demonstrated nationally. On New Year’s Eve, an Uber driver killed a 6-year-old girl in a San Francisco crosswalk. The young girl’s family argues that Uber is financially responsible because the driver was logged into the Uber app and on-the-job, but Uber has countered that it is not liable because no passengers were in the car at the time of the accident.

Uber is staunchly opposed to the McComish amendment.

“The McComish amendment was a back room rush job, void of any industry or public input. It destroys thousands of entrepreneurial jobs in Arizona, slashes income opportunities for Arizona’s rideshare drivers, limits consumer choice and effectively shuts down uberx in our state,” Uber spokeswoman Lane Kasselman said.