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Austin tried to improve safety rules for ridesharing drivers

Although Austin tried its utmost to rid the city of Uber and Lyft, the two ridesharing companies seem to be here to stay. In 2016, Austin voters rejected Uber and Lyft’s efforts to self-regulate its drivers, while upholding stricter laws requiring background checks that included fingerprinting. Uber and Lyft quickly left town.

To sidestep the city’s regulations, the ridesharing companies took their fight to the state capital and won in 2019. Statewide licensing rules overruled Austin’s laws, and among those rules include background checks that do not require fingerprinting. What does this mean for Austinites? The wider availability of ridesharing services and continued uncertainty if injured in a crash involving a ridesharing driver.

Who is negligent in an accident?

If you have been injured in a ridesharing accident, you may find yourself in a legal catacombs related to insurance matters and determining who or what is responsible for the accident. Who is negligent? The company or the driver? Ridesharing drivers are not employees, rather they are independent contractors, and this seemingly provides Uber and Lyft some legal wiggle room.

These companies do not provide the proper training for their drivers, instructed to constantly monitor their smartphones for their next fare. Uber and Lyft also attempt every legal maneuver to avoid responsibility for accidents. But, if their drivers speed, fail to yield, drive under the influence, violate other traffic laws and drive while distracted, it is not difficult to point the arrow of blame on them.

Austinites were on to something regarding safety measures related to ridesharing companies. A background check with fingerprints would have been helpful in screening ridesharing drivers.

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