Transportation Network Companies, which include companies such as Uber and Lyft, have become increasingly popular as a means of transportation in this country.  I have not yet personally utilized these services, due to the uncertainty of the services to be provided by these companies and/or their individual drivers, however, my friends seem to regularly utilize these companies without issue.  Recent legislation which both recognizes and regulates these transportation network companies puts me more at ease on utilizing these services in the future.

As of January 1, 2018, under Public Act 17-140, each transportation network company is now required to register annually with the Commissioner of Transportation and submit a nonrefundable registration fee of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00).  Also, as of late last year, the companies were required to digitally provide to the rider a picture of the driver and the license plate number of the vehicle that will be providing services prior to the rider entering the vehicle, along with a requirement that the driver shall display a decal on the vehicle during the period of time when services are being provided.

Additional safety regulations also went into effect on January 1, 2018, prior to an individual acting as a transportation network company driver.  Specifically, the individuals must submit an application with identifying information, the company must conduct a background check or arrange for fingerprinting to be submitted to the FBI and the State Police Bureau of Identification, and the company must disclose the insurance coverage provided while a driver is engaged in services and must disclose that its driver’s personal automobile insurance policy might not provide coverage while the driver is engaged in services.  The new law also mandates the amount of insurance coverage that the transportation company driver or the transportation network company must maintain when both the driver is connected to the transportation network company’s digital network and is available to receive requests for prearranged rides but is not engaged in the provision of a prearranged ride, and when the driver is engaged in the provision of a prearranged ride.  The new law also provides certain prohibitions for acting as a transportation network company driver if, for instance, the driver has committed more than three moving violations, committed one serious traffic violation, has been convicted within 7 years of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fraud, sexual offenses, use of a motor vehicle to commit a felony, acts of violence or acts of terror, is included in the state sexual offenders registry or the United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website, does not possess a motor vehicle operator’s license, does not possess proof of registration for each motor vehicle such individual proposes to use as a transportation network company vehicle, and is not at least nineteen years of age.  There are also additional reporting and compliance mandates contained within the body of the legislation, as well.  See https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/act/pa/2017PA-00140-R00HB-07126-PA.htm.

The new legislation seems geared toward regulating and mandating the use of transportation network companies and their drivers, as well as providing some additional safety features for any of their potential riders.  This will hopefully make the process a much safer one for anyone looking for a Lyft or an Uber, or utilizing the services of any other transportation network company or taxicab.

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