Republican state representatives Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Bob Hackett (R-London) successfully navigated a bill through the Ohio Statehouse to modernize Ohio law regarding so-called “transportation network companies” such as Uber and Lyft.

HB 237 is now on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature.  Once signed, the legislation will increase insurance coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers in case of accidents and establish a single statewide process for drivers to be approved, rather than via conflicting regulations in many cities.

“This law supports the free market,” said Duffey. “It makes it easier for Uber and Lyft drivers, working hard to support their families, to follow a simple statewide set of requirements.  In doing so, we are going to attract more drivers and as a result, getting rides will be even more convenient.”

For Ohioans applying to become a ridesharing driver for the first time, HB 237 will make the process more consistent across the state, requiring background checks, prohibiting applicants with significant driving infractions, and requiring zero tolerance for drug or alcohol use.  It also establishes disclosure of information for riders such as a photo of the driver, license plate number or exterior signage indicating the name of the ridesharing company.

"The TNC business is a new and rapidly growing industry and there were potential gaps in insurance coverage for the driving public,” Rep. Hackett stated. “I could not be more pleased with the willingness of the TNC companies and key insurance companies to get together and work out a solution.  This is just another example where the private sector worked well with government to hammer out an acceptable win/win solution."

Regarding insurance, the legislation also addresses an industry concern about whether drivers should be covered by their personal insurance or a more expensive commercial insurance policy while logged into the mobile app.  HB 237 legally obligates drivers to obtain coverage. 

During committee hearings in the Ohio Senate, amendments were added to allow taxicabs companies to operate as TNCs if they accept the same requirements.  The Senate also allowed TNCs to accept cash payments, and while it is unlikely companies like Uber or Lyft would choose to do so, it is more likely that taxicab companies would accept cash while operating a TNC app of their own. 

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