The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration places strict limits on the number of hours a passenger carrying driver can operate his or her vehicle without stopping to rest or sleep. These laws are incredibly important to prevent personal injury accidents involving commercial passenger-carrying vehicles. Yet, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, there is one kind of commercial operation that may be exempt from these laws. Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing companies use freelance drivers, which means that the companies have little to no control over how long the drivers can work or stay behind the wheel. In fact, a driver can take on an Uber shift, after leaving a shift from another job, and his or her passengers may be no more the wiser.
Fatigue is a known cause of many personal injury accidents in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as the Law Office of Martin T. Montilino can attest.
In fact, many cities are responding to the concern about driver fatigue by placing hours of service limits on taxi drivers. In New York City, for instance, according to Eyewitness News 7, proposed rules would limit the amount of time taxi drivers could stay on the road. The proposed laws, however, remain a far cry from federal regulations. For instance, drivers will be limited to 12 hour shifts in New York if the law is passed, not the federal limit on 10 hours set for commercial drivers.
While many municipalities have laws on the books that require ride sharing companies to properly license and perform background checks on their drivers, data on the safety of ride sharing companies and their drivers remains rather scant. Many critics of ride sharing companies worry that they only perform the bare minimum requirements when it comes to ensuring that drivers are safe, insured, and properly licensed. This can create a situation where more passengers and drivers on the road are put at risk. Furthermore, it can be hard to track and control drivers who are not officially employed by the ride sharing companies.
With the laws across the states differing so widely, drivers and passengers may have to wait until sweeping federal legislation is put in place. Until laws are passed, riders should be aware of their rights. For instance, riders injured in ride sharing accidents may be entitled to receive compensation from drivers or their insurers for their injuries, medical expenses, and lost wages. Drivers involved in accidents with ride sharing vehicles may also be entitled to receive a recovery for their losses.
The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino is a qualified personal injury lawyer working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As ride sharing companies become more popular, some individuals will likely require counsel about how to protect themselves if and when things go wrong. However, these companies aren’t likely to go away any time soon. Ride sharing is celebrated as a great way to avoid drinking and driving and is seen increasingly as a good alternative to owning a car.