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NJ lawmakers to decide on increasing insurance limits on Uber, Lyft

Posted at 12:43 AM, Feb 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-09 00:43:07-05

NEW JERSEY (PIX11)-- New Jersey lawmakers will be discussing a bill Monday morning that would increase insurance limits for ride sharing services, like Uber and Lyft. An Uber spokesman says company representatives do plan to testify before the state senate transportation committee tomorrow.

The bill would require ride sharing companies to provide $1.5 million dollars in liability insurance coverage, in case of an accident. Both Uber and Lyft currently carry $1 million dollar policies.

The bill would also mean mandatory criminal background checks for drivers, as well as driver history checks and drug tests. Uber and Lyft both currently say they background check their drivers' criminal and driving history.

New Jersey follows New York City, Illinois, Colorado, California, Washington D.C. and other places that have been taking a hard look at regulating the ride sharing industry.

"There are already 22 different jurisdictions that have established permanent ride-sharing regulations," said Uber spokesman Matt Wing in a statement on Sunday.

"We are continuing to work productively with state legislatures to advance bills that give riders better transportation choices and drivers greater economic opportunity," said Wing.

In favor of increased safety regulations were Uber drivers and yellow cab drivers, who spoke to PIX11 on Sunday.

"I don't mind the competition, but it has to be a fair competition," said yellow cab driver Felix Guzman.

"Good idea," said Uber driver Vimal Patel, when asked about the proposed insurance increases.

Uber drivers say the company keeps 20% of their fares, in part, to pay for insurance to cover drivers and passengers.

The bill up for discussion on Monday also lays out rules that would require ride sharing companies to be permitted by the state. Among other requirements, the companies would have to keep at least two years-worth of records on the locations where Uber drivers are picking up and dropping off passengers, what times they are doing it at, and the mileage they travel.