Lawmakers Question Uber Officials On Bill To Regulate Ride-Shares
Members of a Texas House committee continued to work on legislation that would allow the state to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. The House Transportation Committee attempted to nail down how they screened their drivers and what their respective company’s insurance covered.
The bill by Marshal Republican Chris Paddie would create a state permit for these ride-booking drivers and require them to pay $5,000 a year to operate in Texas. The bill would also mandate that Uber and Lyft drivers carry a certain level of insurance.
But members of the House Transportation Committee, like Dallas Democrat Yvonne Davis, found it extremely difficult to obtain information from Uber’s Insurance Policy Manager Brad Nail, on whether the company was responsible during a traffic accident or whether the ride-booking driver took responsibility and paid up. Here’s that conversation.
Davis: I would think that you all would need to, at the very least, come back, provide the committee with what your real position is? Nail: No we’re happy to have that discussion again and try to answer all your questions. Davis: If I could just get the answer, Does it exist?
Nail trailed off and wasn’t able to answer Davis’ question.
One of the other sticking points amongst committee members involved criminal background checks and fingerprinting. San Antonio Republican Rep. Lyle Larson, a co-sponsor of the legislation, believed that that component should be left up to the cities in which these companies operate. “[It should be] something local governments could work on and maybe set the parameters on, I don’t know, that’s one option,” said Larson.
But others on the committee were skeptical about the ability of cities to run background checks on each Uber driver. This comes on the back of an incident involving a Houston driver that who was arrested for sexual assault, the fact of his having a previous incident had escaped the background check.
After much heated discussion though, the bill was left pending in committee.