Taxi alternatives, such as Uber and Lyft, have become quite popular over the last year with riders throughout the state. Riders download the mobile application on their phone, select the type of vehicle they want to ride, their location and intended destination. The application indicates how long the wait time will be until the drive arrives. No physical money is transferred as the ride is paid through the app. This new way to travel has presented several problems to state governments, who are now beginning to tackle these issues using legislation to protect the taxi industry.
Recently in New Jersey drivers for Uber and Lyft have begun receiving citations for failing to comply with certain New Jersey Statutes designed to protect the taxi industry. Under N.J.S.A. 39:3-19.1, any unregistered driver using his car for transportation of passengers for hire can be fined up to $250.00 and his vehicle can be impounded. A second offense carries a $500.00 and the same possibility of being impounded. The statute further authorizes a police officer to remove any unregistered motor vehicle from the road and imposes an additional $150 fine to those who does not have the required certificates of public convenience, paid to the “Omnibus Safety Enforcement Fund.”
A separate statute, N.J.S.A. 39:5G-1, provides for the various penalties for drivers violating laws designated to regulate limousine drivers.
If you operate a limousine without a license, permit a driver to operate a limousine without a license and/or a commercial drivers license, fail to have filed an insurance policy in the amount of $1,500,000 which is currently valid, or operate a limousine in which the number of passengers exceeds the maximum seating capacity, the driver faces a fine of $2,500 for the first offense and a fine of $5000 for the second or subsequent offense.
If you operate a limousine without the special registration plates or being properly inspected, you could be fined $1,250 for the first offense and a fine of $2,500 for the second or subsequent offense. If you do not have the attached sideboards or have the appropriate proof of insurance in the limousine you can be fined $250 for the first offense and $500 for the second and subsequent offense. If you do not have a two-way communications system, a removable first-aid kit, and an operable fire extinguisher you face a fine of $50 for the first offense and $100 for the second and subsequent offense.
If you are an Uber, Lyft, or any other non-traditional taxi driver, and have been issued any of the above mentioned summons, call my office for a free consultation. Call 877-676-7729. Acceptable payment includes cash, check or Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover or Paypal.