NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers may now be able to get their jobs back, after they were originally banned from driving-for-hire.
Up to 500 drivers who failed the state’s background check system, recently won their appeals.
Some people are calling it a victory for the drivers, but others, including Mike Wuchter of Northampton worry, it defeats the purpose of enforcing background checks. “That’s kind of the point, you don’t want to get into a car with someone if they’re sketchy, or failing background checks,” he said.
The state said passengers are still safe: drivers who were rejected for serious crimes, or OUI’s, cannot have the decisions appealed.
The state may have figured out background checks for Uber and Lyft drivers, but there are still several regulations they haven’t figured out, including who insures the driver when they’re technically on the clock, but still haven’t picked up a passenger.
Richard Webber, the Vice President of Webber and Grinnell Insurance Agency in Northampton told 22News, there’s a time period where drivers aren’t insured. “There’s a gray area between when you turn your phone on where technically no coverage exists.”
Webber explained that when a driver logs onto the app, their personal insurance policy automatically stops. “Their policy stops when you put your iPhone on to start collecting income and rides. The Uber policy does not start until you actually have the passenger in the car,” he said.
The taxi industry originally pushed for Uber and Lyft drivers to carry 24/7 commercial insurance, but the provision didn’t make it to the state’s ridesharing legislation.