As you know from looking at prior posts, I am fascinated with the legalities of Uber, Lyft and the whole concept of ride-sharing programs here in Florida. As a personal injury attorney, I see many risks that could happen while ride-sharing. Not surprisingly, so does the Florida legislature. Currently, the Florida Senate and House are in Committee before the Legislature officially kicks off their 2016 season on March 1, 2016. There are two proposed bills going through the Florida House and Senate that are addressing these ride-sharing companies are quite different. This past fall, we saw a series of Uber issues vying for position heading down the legislative session straightaway. Now, the Florida House settled on HB 509, the bill being pushed by our local Rep. Matt Gaetz. The proposed bill, which passed 108-10 with no debate, would prevent local governments from regulating the self-described transportation network companies.
Bay County officials have restricted Uber, a ride sharing company, from offering their services. I try not to be pessimistic, but from the time I heard about Uber, I thought it was too good to be true. I was worried that the "assurances" from Uber higher-ups that they were doing background checks but not providing documentation to cities that asked for the information would attract those who had "questionable" backgrounds. Therefore, when I went on to WJHG Channel 7's website and saw the headline that Bay County will not allow Uber to operate in their county, I was not surprised. According to the news agency, Bay County will not allow Uber to operate after one of the ride sharing service's drivers was arrested. According to the Mayor of Panama City Beach, Gayle Oberst, the driver was initially pulled over while dropping off some clients because the vehicle failed to have the proper inspection tags on its vehicle. According to a city ordinance, all taxi-operations must pass an inspection by the police department. The driver was given a warning. The next day, the same driver was pulled over again while dropping clients off. He still didn't have any proof of inspection. That's when police arrested the man.