Chicago Rideshare Companies Await Senate, City Votes

I have written quite a
bit the last month about proposed city ordinances and state bills looking to
regulate rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. Last month the Illinois House
passed a bill that put stricter requirements on rideshare drivers, which are
similar to what cab drivers face. That bill is now going to the Senate.
Meanwhile, an ordinance with fewer restrictions is being discussed by the
Chicago city council. 

The main issue on the
state level is the amount and type of liability insurance rideshare drivers
must carry and the type of driver’s license must be obtained. The state bill
would require driver’s carry $500,000 of coverage from the time the app is
turned on in the driver’s car. 

The state bill would
also require drivers obtain a chauffer’s license, just like all cab drivers.
 The state bill would require this type of license if the driver works
over 18 hours per week looking for fares. The city ordinance would increase the
amount of hours before requiring a chauffer’s license. 

I will be watching this
very closely and will update if and when the bill reaches the Senate for a
vote. I think it’s almost a certain that all sides (taxi companies, rideshare
companies and legislators) are working behind the scenes looking for a
compromise. I believe the rideshare companies should be required to have at
least the type of insurance coverage (minimum $350,000) that taxi companies
use. The question remains whether their drivers should be required to obtain a chauffer’s
license. I would say yes because they are essentially chauffeuring people around
the city for money and customers are putting their life and health into their
hands.

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The Chicago Tribune recently reported that the Chicago City Counsel has their eye on improving public safety by hammering down on drivers that are caught and ticketed with a suspended license. The new ordinance requires that drivers will pay $665 ($500 fine and $165 towing fee) to retrieve their cars.

Ald. Thomas Allen, 38th, acknowledged his ordinance, which takes effect Jan. 1, isn’t perfect. But he said it’s a strong deterrent for scofflaws who were repeat offenders among the 22,904 citations Chicago police issued last year for driving with a suspended license.

“You’re not going to eradicate the 22,000-plus cases of people getting pulled over for this,” Allen said. “But if they have to pay this $665 every time, it’s going to give them pause.”

The new rule gained momentum after Allen brought up the case of James E. Cox, who was cited more than a dozen times with driving without a valid license but kept driving, records show. Cox is now charged with causing the Oct. 21 wreck that killed Kim Brown, a 27-year-old pregnant mother of five, as she stood on a West Side sidewalk.

Allen pointed out Cox would have racked up thousands of dollars in fines to keep his car on the road before the accident that killed Brown. “He would have thought twice before driving again, facing those costs,” Allen said.

This is an aggressive move by the Chicago City Counsel, which has public safety in mind and will hopefully lead to a decrease in car accidents around town.

To read the complete story, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, truck accident or motorcycle accident, then call attorney Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.