Should rideshare companies, like Uber and Lift, be subject to a lower standard of care than taxis or other similar modes of for-hire transportation? Of course not — they provide the exact same service as taxicabs, limousines, buses, etc. — and should be subject to the same standard of care. That’s what new proposed legislation in Illinois, HB 2231, hopes to accomplish.
Under longstanding Illinois law, “common carriers” owe the highest degree of care to protect the safety of its passengers: “A common carrier is not a guarantor of its passengers’ safety, but it has a duty to its passengers to use the highest degree of care consistent with the mode of conveyance used and the practical operation of its business as a common care by road. It’s failure to fulfill this duty is negligence.” Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions (Civil) 100.01.
Likely due to lobbying efforts from Uber and Lyft, those companies were able to gain an exemption from this law. In other words, even though they provide the exact service as a taxicab, Uber and Lyft are held to a lower standard of care.
The Illinois House has now passed HB 2231, which seeks to remove Uber and Lyft’s exemption, and hold them to the same “highest duty of care to protect the safety of passengers” as any other taxicab, bus, train or similar common carrier. Not surprisingly, Uber and Lyft are opposed to the bill.
Having represented dozens of people who have been seriously injured in car crashes caused by negligent Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as victims of sexual abuse or assault committed by rideshare perpetrators, we believe this proposed legislation is long overdue.
We encourage those who support making our roads safer to contact their representatives and voice your support of this important law.
For a Free Consultation with one of our Chicago-based injury and wrongful death lawyers, contact Passen & Powell at 312-527-4500.