Under the Dome

NC Senate backs regulations for Uber and similar ride services

Uber driver partner Lisa Schuerenberg takes a fare to a destination in Durham in December. The N.C. Senate voted to back new regulations on Uber and its competitors Wednesday.
Uber driver partner Lisa Schuerenberg takes a fare to a destination in Durham in December. The N.C. Senate voted to back new regulations on Uber and its competitors Wednesday. cliddy@newsobserver.com

The N.C. Senate voted 45-2 Wednesday to regulate Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies that allow anyone to become a taxi driver through an online app.

The proposed rules lay out insurance requirements and fees for the companies – the biggest of which are supporting the Senate’s plan.

“This legislation is desperately needed to protect Uber drivers, their passengers and insurance companies,” said Sen. Floyd McKissick, the Durham Democrat who sponsored the bill. “If a person is using their personal vehicle, their personal liability insurance carrier will not provide any coverage during the time that vehicle is used for commercial purposes.”

The bill would require the ride-sharing company to purchase insurance that covers its drivers and passengers, including times when a driver doesn’t have a passenger but has made their vehicle available through the app.

The companies would have to conduct local and national criminal background check on all drivers, pay a $5,000 annual fee to the state, and disclose fares to customers before they request a ride.

McKissick said the bill was drafted with help from 27 stakeholders, including ride-sharing companies and insurance firms. “Uber was engaged in this process, and they support the bill in its current form,” he said.

A final vote on the bill is set for Thursday before the measure heads to the House.

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