In addition to specific Chicago laws, the State of Illinois has legislation in place that regulates the ridesharing industry. In 2014, the first regulations were passed to legally manage the companies and drivers, and in 2016 and 2018, those regulations were expanded further. While Chicago maintains adherence to strict requirements by both drivers and the rideshare companies, its rules and regulations are not the strongest in the country.
Individuals wishing to drive for either company must submit their first name, social security number, and birth date in order to apply. The law mandating the required information went into effect on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, in order to hold rideshare companies to the same standard other licensed transportations services must uphold.
Specifically, the City of Chicago allowed Uber to forgo fingerprinting drivers but instead required them to conduct background checks on drivers through a national, state, and local database which made sure the drivers did not have criminal records, recent moving violations, or did not show up in sex offender registries.
However, it appeared that the company took a relaxed position on the requirements and were caught conducting inadequate background checks. As a result, Uber, and other rideshare companies agreed to pay a $10.4 million fine that would then be used to enhance mentoring programs for at-risk youth in the City. It was, at that time, the largest ever imposed fine for violations of that kind, but did benefit the City in a positive manner.
Once approved by the company, the driver must hold specific insurance policies. The policy must include commercial insurance of $50,000 per person and $100,000 for death and personal injury per incident. If the accident resulted in the destruction of property, the driver must hold a minimum of $25,000 of coverage. While Uber does provide liability insurance to all drivers in the form of a $1 million insurance policy, there can be gaps in what is covered. In Illinois, Uber provides varying degrees of insurance depending on if a driver is en route to pick up a passenger, transporting a passenger to their destination, or simply waiting for a ride request. Personal insurance providers often will not cover any accidents that occur while driving for ridesharing companies without additional fees, and many, will not cover it at all because using your personal vehicle for service is considered a commercial entity. It is important for drivers to understand the differences and talk with insurance providers before driving for Uber in Chicago.
The lack of quality insurance for rideshare drivers has sparked a movement of “rideshare endorsements” which essentially cover the gap between the liability insurance offered by Uber. But according to NBC 5 Chicago, many drivers opt out of the coverage, putting passengers at risk.
As a passenger, it would be helpful to ask your driver about their coverage for any future accidents. It is better to be over-prepared than not prepared at all for the risks that come with using the rideshare platform.
The bill also includes a zero-tolerance policy and drug and alcohol use.
However, the restrictions and requirements do not prevent problems from occurring. In May 2017, an Uber driver in a suburb of Chicago was charged with aggravated DUI after driving a passenger. The passenger called the police for a well-being check after the driver’s behavior began to worry about the passenger. The incident, not uncommon throughout the country, is one that also raises concerns. If you suspect that a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, remove yourself from the situation as quickly and safely as possible and call the police. Not only should the driver not be using the app, but they also should not be on the roads where they could cause injuries or death not only to themselves but to others.
If you were in an accident and the driver did not adhere to the requirements of the transportation network provider rules by failing to have a valid chauffeur’s license, the necessary insurance coverage, or was otherwise acting inappropriately or recklessly, you may qualify for a Uber lawsuit. The next step would be to contact an Uber accident lawyer Chicago.