Despite Licensing Issues, Uber Rideshare Service Begins Across South Carolina
In spite of a warning from the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff on June 24th, the popular Uber rideshare mobile app service has expanded into South Carolina.
Uber’s ridesharing service will cover four major metropolitan areas in South Carolina – Columbia, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Greenville. The rideshare service was invented as an alternative to taxi cabs, which are highly regulated in each state. Uber, however, is a national service based off an app for smartphones. The company is based in San Francisco.
On Tuesday, June 24th, the South Carolina State Office of Regulatory Staff released a statement of public advisory warning potential ridesharing users that uberX/Uber and other such companies do not have adequate insurance or registration with the state, putting passengers at risk of loss in the event of a SC personal injury accident.
Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have insisted in other state cases that they are not a traditional taxi service, but a mobile app that connects passengers with drivers, who use their personal vehicles and rely on personal insurance in the event of an accident. However, past problems with accidents have shown that the driver’s personal insurance does not always cover the costs of personal injury in the event of a car accident.
“It’s a pretty serious issue,” said Russ Dubisky, executive director of the S.C. Insurance News Service. “My simple advice is just to read the policy and if they don’t have coverage, to make sure that they can get coverage somewhere.”
The OSR said in its public statement that using ridesharing apps that hire drivers without a certificate from the Public Service Commission could leave customers with potential gaps in insurance coverage in the event of a car accident leading to personal injury. Some vehicle insurance policies have specific clauses that do not cover personal injury in the event that the driver uses the vehicle for commercial purposes.
However, Uber rideshare, along with Lyft and some other ridesharing companies, recently changed their driver policies to pay for insurance to cover cars while they are working for the rideshare service. Uber also insists that it conducts rigorous background screenings of drivers, as well as a driving history check, and also has regular quality control screenings. All drivers are independent contractors with Uber.
Uber rideshare does not, however, require certification for transportation services with the state, which has created regulatory problems in several states, including South Carolina. Additionally, local Charleston regulations require drivers to get a chauffer’s license, which Uber does not require.
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If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident, whether it was caused by distracted driving or DUI, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. The sooner you hire one of our accident lawyers, the sooner we will be able to investigate your case and the stronger your case will be. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to call us. 803.252.4800