State Taxi Group Exposes Uber Driver Violations

Posted on March 3, 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida Taxicab Association (FTA) said March 3 that efforts in the Florida Legislature to allow self-regulation by the "peer-to-peer" Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), Uber and Lyft, pertaining to background checks and insurance verification are "ridiculous."
"Shifting regulatory oversight to the very companies that have shown no willingness to comply with even the most basic forms of permitting, background checks and insurance verification is ridiculous," said Roger Chapin of Mears Transportation in Orlando. "Uber and Lyft have made no secret of their disregard for following any laws so it defies logic to propose that these companies police themselves."
The Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board  agreed, weighing in over the weekend, that any legislation "needs better consumer protections, such as stronger background checks on drivers, vehicle inspections and clearer insurance provisions" and that no legislation should "prevent local communities ... from taking the extra step to ensure that drivers and vehicles don't pose a danger to passengers and the public."
To cite examples of "self-regulation" by Uber and Lyft, the FTA released the criminal and driving record backgrounds of two drivers (obtained via public records) - one Uber driver and one Lyft driver - who recently received citations in Orlando for not having a driver or vehicle permit required by the city's vehicle for hire department. Neither driver cleared the city's background check nor provided proof insurance. The results include:
Uber Driver: Citation #14228
Orange County
2006: Unlawful speed (unable to determine)
2006: Unlawful speed (unable to determine)
2006: Seat belt not worn by driver
2007: Operating motor vehicle/mobile home w/expired tag
2008: Unlawful speed (46 in a 35 zone)
2008: Seat belt not worn by driver
2009: Unlawful speed (unable to determine)
2009: Improper turn (left turn)
2009: Failure to use due care
2010: Unlawful speed (unable to determine)
2010: Aggravated child abuse (with a weapon) - Complaint filed, No Contact order, Notice of Discharge, Bond Discharged
2011: Certificate of registration possession required
2011: Seat belt not worn by driver
2012: Improper stopping/standing/parking where prohibited
2013: Unlawful speed (58 in a 35 zone)
2014: Vehicle for hire permit required
St. Lucie County
2006: Speeding (unable to determine - docket shows "Speed/70 Interstate")
2013: Speeding (87 in a 70 zone)
Martin County
2005: Unlawful speed (78 in a 60 zone)
2011: Unlawful speed (unable to determine)
Palm Beach County
2007: Speeding (90 in a 70 zone)

Lyft Driver: Citation # 14327
2007: Unlawful Speed (65 in a 45 zone)
2007: Seat belt not worn by driver
2008: Battery (Domestic Violence) arrested 7/18/2008; no information filed, petition to expunge filed, last action: 7/27/2009-Amended Opposition of the State to Petition to Expunge/Seal
2010: Failure to obey traffic control device
2010: Child restraint requirement
2010: Unlawful speed (47 in a 35 zone)
2010: Seat belt not worn by driver
2010: Unlawful speed (44 in a 35 zone)
2010: Unlawful speed (55 in a 45 zone)
2011: Vehicle for hire permit required
2011: Red light camera
2012: Seatbelt not worn by driver
2012: Unlawful speed (84 in a 65 zone)
2012: Cutting in
2012: Unlawful speed (unable to determine)
2013: Seat belt not worn by driver
2014: Insurance required proof of PIP and PDL (2/2014)
2014: Insurance required proof of PIP and PDL (4/14)
2014: Cert of registration possession required
2014: Insurance required proof of PIP and PDL (9/14)
2014: Vehicle for hire permit required
2014: Chauffeur's permit required
Osceola County
2011: Proof of insurance required
2011: Unlawful speed (62 in a 40 zone)
2012: Unlawful speed (64 in a 55 zone)
2012: Unlawful speed
2013: Ran stop sign
Uber has come under fire recently for its background check system. According to the New York Times, Uber has been fighting "efforts against legislation requiring background checks as strong as those demanded of traditional taxis."

Recently, in "tech friendly" San Francisco, the District Attorney's office filed suit against Uber and Lyft.  The suit claims the companies don't go far enough to protect passengers, with District Attorney George Gascon accusing Uber of making false and misleading statements about how it protects consumers and engaging in business practices that violate California law. In particular, Gascon pointed to Uber's criminal background checks, which he said were "completely worthless."

In South Florida, an internal communication from Uber to its drivers outlined methods to avoid enforcement and defraud area airports from important commercial lane revenues, telling drivers to "use the lanes farthest from the terminal" and "keep your phone off your windshield."
In every locality, from Orlando to Tampa and Palm Beach to Miami, Uber has also used its technology to thwart the efforts of law enforcement, whose sole responsibility is to ensure the safety for the public. By turning off regulators "app accounts," Uber had doubled down on efforts to avoid getting caught, not only costing taxpayers but wasting the valuable time of law enforcement.
"We are not opposed to state-wide minimum standards pertaining to background checks and insurance," said Louie Minardi, President of the Florida Taxicab Association. "But every community is different and our cities, counties, airports, seaports and convention centers should be able to require higher levels of insurance and background checks if they choose."
"Tallahassee has proven unable to clarify, verify or enforce existing laws pertaining to Uber and insurance," Chapin added. "For them to take over important safety regulations from local officials, be it government or law enforcement, is simply bad public policy."

Source: Florida Taxicab Association

Related Topics: background checks, driver behavior, driver safety, Florida operators, law enforcement, regulatory enforcement, state regulations, taxis, TNCs, Uber

Comments ( 5 )
  • What is this?

     | about 5 years ago

    As stated above, LCT is straight up TNC NEWS NETWORK

  • See all comments
More Stories

LCT Interview With Chicago Operator Paula DeBiasi

Paula DeBiasi, executive director of the Illinois Limousine & Bus Association and owner-operator of Chicago CoachWorks, talks with LCT contributing editor Jim Luff during the International LCT Show in March for insights on why associations are needed to protect operator livelihoods.