Ride-hailing incidents, licenses and insurance

Ride-hailing or ride-sourcing is rapidly replacing taxis as a preferred form of transport. Big names like Uber and Lyft have brought this form of point-to-point travel into the spotlight. There has been quite a bit of media attention about passengers’ safety aspects, and it hasn’t all been positive.

Incidents in the USA

In the UK there are strict requirements regarding proper taxi insurance and correct licences for ride-hailing drivers. This isn’t the case in the USA and media reports from there highlight the dangers of this.

Public liability case

Recently in California, a 6-year-old girl was struck and killed by a ride-hailer vehicle. The company claims that as she wasn’t actually a passenger; they don’t need to pay anything. If they had public liability insurance, that could have covered this.

Commercial vs private licence

While taxi drivers in the USA must hold commercial drivers’ licences, ride-hailing drivers only need a regular one. The former is more challenging to get as there is intensive training required, background checks and even vehicle-safety tests.

Having only a standard driver’s licence means that the passenger’s safety is put at risk, as the more stringent tests and checks have not been taken. In the USA ride-hailing has increased the number of road incidents.

UK regulations

Thankfully, in the UK, the ride-hailing companies have stricter rules imposed on them than in other countries. As such, road incidents are recorded as being down. This is excellent news for the industry here.

Passenger safety is paramount. Prospective drivers can not have been convicted of any driving offences; this reduces these occurrences when transporting other people. A standard driver’s licence is also not enough, and a private hire licence needs to be obtained.

Unlike the US, private hire taxi insurance is a pre-requisite before even being approved to drive. This is essential as it protects both the driver, the passenger and the public. There are different options for people or parcel movement, public liability and even breakdowns. Be sure to fully understand all the requirements needed if you plan to be a ride-hailing driver.