Ride-sharing safety bill raises red flags for government overreach
Nick Zaiac, a policy fellow at R Street, said it isn’t a good idea to make policy in reaction to a tragic event.
Zaiac said the bill tries to attack the problem from a variety of angles by imagining the many ways something could go wrong.
“But it might be overly cautious,” Zaiac said.
It’s rare for violence to result when someone mistakenly enters a car thinking it’s an Uber or Lyft, Zaiac said. Requiring a front-facing license plate may help passengers stay safe, but, Zaiac, said the criminal aspects of the bill are worrying.
“The bill already has a solution to that problem,” Zaiac said. “There’s no reason to add a criminal element to it. The criminal element makes this bill feel like an overreaction.”
Fraud, impersonation, and assault are already illegal, Zaiac said.
“At the end of the day I don’t think assaulting an Uber driver is any more or less bad than assaulting anyone else,” Zaiac said. “You already know assault is illegal. Knowing that assault against an Uber driver is extra illegal is not going to change anything.”
Ride-sharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, have safety features. The ride-share apps let riders see what the driver looks like, the make and model car, and the license plate number before the car arrives. Some ride-sharing apps let a rider share a trip with their family and friends.
“Ride-sharing companies are already solving the problem,” Zaiac said. “The one thing they aren’t doing right now is requiring drivers to have a front-facing license plate.”