Uber is the most well-known example of a transportation network company (TNC) which allows customers to find rides through a network application or a digital network. While it is important to have these new, innovative companies coming into Iowa’s communities, it’s just as important to have adequate regulations to ensure the safety of the drivers, customers, and the public.
The legislation passed by the House, House File 394, will require the TNC to maintain motor vehicle insurance that is above the current minimum amounts required under law, as well as uninsured and underinsured insurance, for instances when the driver isn’t transporting a passenger but available to provide transportation. For instances when the driver is actually transporting a passenger, the passenger is required to maintain motor vehicle insurance , and in even higher amounts than when the driver is not transporting a passenger, but available to provide transportation.
Potential drivers of a TNC must go through criminal background checks, and the TNC or a third party is required to perform a vehicle safety inspection prior to approving the vehicle for use in providing services. Drivers are prohibited from soliciting for passengers or accepting passengers hailing a driver from the street. This was intentionally done to distinguish a TNC driver from a taxi driver.
A small number of House members voted against the bill for reasons including that the minimum insurance requirements weren’t high enough, not requiring the drivers to have a chauffeur’s license, and the preemption of local control.