I’ve seen them in Nashville, and so have you. The pink mustache cars. My question – is Lyft, Uber, and other so called “peer to peer” ride sharing services safe in Nashville?  Drivers are even quitting because of insurance issues – just read Adrian’s account.  Though some services boast liability insurance of $1m per driver, in the case in San Francisco, the claim was denied by the ride sharing service itself, Uber.  These drivers are underinsured, do not posess commercial licenses, have killed, and in one documented case, Lyft driver even stalked a girl.  Is this all acceptable in Nashville, TN?

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Ride share services like Lyft and Uber have insurance issues and passengers have been stalked. Not safe in my opinion.

My opinion is no. I do not believe they are safe for passengers or drivers. A few things first:

  • I am really concerned because they are independent contractors, and research is finding Lyft is stating drivers insurance covers them but insurnace companies are not. They are also responsible for  killings lately. http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2014/01/08/big-liabilities-for-uber-sidecar-and-lyft/ http://phantomcabdriverphites.blogspot.com/2013/02/100000-uninsured-rides-and-counting-in.html I’m a capitalist and love innovation but not where insurance is a question and people are dying. Why is Nashville allowing these uninsured independent contractor killers on the street?

  • Y0u CAN be stalked: http://valleywag.gawker.com/when-your-smartphone-chauffeur-becomes-a-stalker-801080008 – I would not want my own daughter riding with a LYFT or UBER driver and neither should you. Even though the numbers are masked now, all the driver must do is glance down at a phone, take note where he is dropping your daughter off at, or picking her up at and he can stalk her. Remember, these drivers are INDEPENDENT contractors (which is being questioned in the state of California) – they do not answer to anyone like a cab driver or black car driver does.  There is no government commission, licensing agency or oversight over them, period. 
  • The legal definition of ride-sharing in California is relatively narrow: only for transportation between home and work, of “persons having a common work-related purpose” or not having the primary purpose of making a profit. – This is not ride sharing. This is a profit making operation, just look at the ads recruiting drivers.
  • “”Right now the concern is that if I were to be picked up by one of these cars and there is some kind of accident, that [driver's] insurance company may deny that claim,” CPUC general counsel Frank Lindh told the Chronicle. “And I would be stuck with those medical bills.” – Seen here
  • Their employment status isn’t even certain – there is a lawsuit to determine if they are independant contractors or employees. If they are contractors, I would also ask if they have to pay municipal / city / county taxes.

I don’t generally believe in more regulation or local government involvement in small business but in a rare instance I believe California is taking the RIGHT approach and Nashville has taken the WRONG approach. There needs to be more regulation. People are getting killed, insurance companies are saying folks aren’t covered, and at least in one state, legally this isn’t even ‘ride sharing’.

I’ve approached Metro Nashville City Council for comment but as of 1/31/2014 there has been no reply.

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