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Vehicle and Driver Requirements for Uber and Lyft



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New York has a confusing mix of regulations for rideshare operators and drivers because New York State and NYC have separate sets of vehicle and driver requirements.

NYC is unusual because it did not create a separate regulatory regime for rideshare drivers. Instead, it fits them into the existing for-hire regulatory system that governs limousine and taxi cab drivers.

Read on to learn about the vehicle and driver requirements for Uber and Lyft and how compliance affects liability in an Uber or Lyft accident.

Driver Requirements for Uber and Lyft

Regulations on New York rideshare drivers come from three sources:

New York State Law

New York State sets the basic rules for rideshare drivers in New York State. Under New York State law, all drivers must:

  • Be at least 19 years old
  • Have a New York driver’s license
  • Have proof of registration and proof of liability insurance on the vehicle used to carry passengers
  • Pass a criminal background check by Uber or Lyft
  • Pass a driving history check by Uber or Lyft

Your background and driving history checks cannot show the following to become a driver:

  • A conviction of a crime within three years involving a vehicle
  • A conviction of a violent crime within seven years
  • Inclusion on the sex offender registry

These requirements apply to rideshare drivers across the state except in NYC.

New York City Regulations

NYC requires Uber and Lyft drivers to get a license from the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). In this respect, rideshare drivers working in NYC stand on equal footing with taxi and limousine drivers.

To get a TLC license, the driver must undergo background and driving history checks. In NYC, you cannot get a TLC license if you have the following:

  • A conviction for DWI, bribery, fraud, theft, making threats, harassment, abuse, or a violent crime within three years
  • Three collisions or a conviction for driving without a license within the past year

You will also need to pass a drug test. If you fail the drug test, you cannot reapply for one year.

Uber and Lyft Requirements

Uber and Lyft can set driver requirements higher than those set by the city and state. In other words, state statutes and city ordinances set the floor for driver requirements. For example, New York State allows anyone over 19 to work as a rideshare driver outside of NYC. But Lyft requires drivers outside of NYC to be at least 25 years old.

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Vehicle Requirements for Uber and Lyft

Vehicle requirements also come from New York State, New York City, and rideshare companies. Vehicles outside NYC must comply with New York State law that merely requires rideshare vehicles to meet the state safety and emissions standards.

Vehicles in NYC must get inspected by TLC. Approved vehicles must get re-inspected periodically. Once a vehicle passes inspection, it receives TLC plates. Both Uber and Lyft require you to display your TLC plates when driving for them.

Uber and Lyft set additional requirements for vehicles, including:

  • Less than 15 years old
  • At least four doors
  • No commercial markings or cosmetic damage

New York State, NYC, Uber, and Lyft all require you to carry liability insurance on your vehicle.