Are taxi companies like Uber regulated by the same rules as traditional taxicab operators?
Following a crushing blow to its business model in California, transportation network company Uber is facing yet another legislative response to the way it handles its company and employees under South Carolina law. As the 21st state to take notice of Uber’s less-than-compliant business tactics, Governor Nikki Haley recently signed into law a bill designed to ensure that issues connected to the company in other states do not occur in the Palmetto State. More specifically, the law regulates ‘transportation network companies’ in terms of licensing, driver background checks, and vehicle safety inspections.
Nonetheless, Governor Haley is reportedly pleased to have the company in the state of South Carolina, and urged the General Assembly to compile the bill as quickly as possible, stating that “Uber’s expansion into our state is a win for innovation, the competitive business environment we have fought so hard to create, and it means our citizens will continue to have safe reliable transportation options….”
Basics of South Carolina’s transportation network bill
Conducting its business largely unchecked, Uber – and companies like it – will now be required to obtain permits from the state’s Office of Regulatory Staff – which is responsible for enforcing specific corporate regulations required across several industries.
In addition, the bill requires drivers to undergo criminal background checks before accepting fares within the state – a move prompted by several nationwide reports of sexual assaults and unsavory conduct by drivers against their passengers. Moreover, a transportation network driver in South Carolina cannot have any record of drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs – and must inform his or her vehicle lienholder if the vehicle will be used to transport fares.
Lastly, the bill ensures that all vehicles are safe and properly inspected under South Carolina standards. Once approved, the vehicle must prominently display its licensure and driver identification information.
If you are considering starting a business in South Carolina, or would like to speak to a knowledgeable business law attorney in the Florence or Myrtle Beach areas, please contact Willcox, Buyck & Williams by calling (843)536-8050.