Vehicle and Driver Requirements For Uber and Lyft in Lakewood, CO
California was the first state to regulate ride-sharing companies. Colorado followed just a year later with its rideshare laws. Since then, every state in the nation, plus Washington D.C., has passed and implemented laws to regulate Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing services.
States passed these regulations to address several safety issues. By regulating drivers and their vehicles, the laws reduce the risk of car accidents caused by unqualified rideshare drivers or unsafe rideshare vehicles.
Sources of Rideshare Vehicle and Driver Requirements in Colorado
The standards that Uber and Lyft follow for their drivers and vehicles come from three main sources. First, Colorado has a set of laws that cover transportation network companies (TNCs).
This term refers to all companies that share a few characteristics:
- Drivers have regular driver’s licenses instead of commercial driver’s licenses
- Drivers drive their personal vehicles rather than a vehicle owned by the company
- Riders request service through an app rather than hailing the driver on the street
Since the standards set for taxi and limo companies did not apply to TNCs, these laws set new standards tailored for this new type of service. TNCs like Uber and Lyft must comply with these laws. If they fail to do so, the state can shut them down.
Second, Colorado empowered its Public Utilities Commission to pass rules to regulate TNCs consistent with the laws it had passed. These rules fill out the details left unstated in the laws. For example, the rules explain the procedures TNCs must follow to ensure their drivers and vehicles satisfy the law.
The rules give the state a quick way to react to issues that arise without the cumbersome process of amending the existing laws or passing new laws. Again, ridesharing companies must comply with these rules.
Third, Uber and Lyft have company policies that govern their operations. These policies can impose stricter requirements than the laws. For example, Colorado allows ridesharing companies to use drivers 21 years or older. But Lyft has a policy that requires all Colorado Lyft drivers to be at least 25 years old.
Companies can change their policies at any time as long as they remain within the scope of the laws. In other words, Lyft could lower its minimum driver age to 22, but it cannot drop the age to 19 years old because that would violate the laws.
Uber and Lyft Driver Requirements in Colorado
Under Colorado law, drivers must comply with the following criteria:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Hold a valid driver’s license, although a Colorado license is not required
- Have proof of auto insurance and a valid Colorado auto registration
- Submit certification that the person is medically fit to drive
Most of these requirements are self-explanatory. The auto registration requirement does not require that drivers own a vehicle. They can borrow or rent a vehicle registered in Colorado while driving for the rideshare company.
Uber and Lyft have interpreted the medical fitness certification to only require self-certification. They require the driver to fill out a form saying that they are medically fit to drive. If the driver lies on the medical self-certification, the rideshare company’s insurance policy might not cover them in an accident.
As a result, many drivers have their doctors fill out the medical fitness certification for them. The state provides a medical examination form that the driver’s doctor can use.
Drivers in Colorado must also pass two background checks:
Criminal History Check
Drivers must pass a criminal background check before driving. This background check must include a search of national criminal and sex offender databases.
TNC drivers cannot have any of the following on their records:
- A DUI within the past seven years
- Any felony conviction for fraud, robbery, burglary, a sex offense, or a violent offense
- Any other felony conviction within the past five years
The company must keep a copy of the driver’s criminal record for five years after obtaining the background check. It must conduct a new background check every five years if the driver continues to drive for them.
Driving Record Check
Drivers must also pass a driving record check before driving.
Drivers cannot have any of the following on their driving record:
- More than three moving violations within the past three years
- Any major moving violation in the past three years
For purposes of the driving record check, a major moving violation includes eluding police, reckless driving, and driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license. The company must keep driving records for three years.
Uber and Lyft Vehicle Requirements in Colorado
Rideshare drivers in Colorado must use vehicles with at least four doors. They can only use vehicles designed to carry eight or fewer people, including the driver. The state does not set an age limit on vehicles. However, Uber requires drivers to use vehicles that are less than 16 years old, and Lyft requires drivers to use cars from 2008 or later.
Colorado is one of the few states to require a vehicle inspection before accepting a driver. A mechanic must perform the inspection and certify the vehicle’s safety.
The inspection must cover the following:
- Emergency brake
- Steering system
- Windshield, rear window, and side windows
- Windshield wipers
- Headlights, tail lights, turn signals, and brake lights
- Driver’s seat
- Doors and door locks
- Exhaust system
- Rear-view and side mirrors
- Seat belts
The vehicle must pass this inspection annually.
Consequences of Non-Compliance With Vehicle and Driver Requirements
If a driver or TNC fails to comply with the vehicle and driver requirements, they may bear liability for any resulting crash. Suppose that a driver causes an Uber accident. If the driver’s record had more than three traffic violations, the company should not have approved them, and the liability for any injuries may fall on it.
Bear in mind that the violation probably needs to relate to the accident to be considered relevant. Thus, a driver who lied about their eyesight on a medical fitness certification might bear the liability for hitting a pedestrian they failed to see. But lying about having diabetes might not be relevant if it did not play a role in the crash.
Vehicle and driver requirements are meant to protect passengers and road users. Holding drivers and TNCs to these requirements improves safety and helps victims determine liability after crashes.
Contact our Lakewood Uber & Lyft Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in Lakewood, CO, and need legal help, contact an experienced Uber & Lyft Accident Lawyer at Matos Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.