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Senate sides with ridesharing services Uber, Lyft

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm •  Published: April 22, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) — Calling Uber a cutting-edge concept, the Arizona Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that exempts it and other rideshare companies from the same regulations that traditional taxi and limo companies have.

The amended bill exempts rideshare companies from the commercial insurance requirement that affects traditional taxi, limo and livery companies by not requiring that drivers be insured at all times on the job. It also would not require that rideshare drivers be drug tested. It would require that Uber insure its drivers with $1 million policies.

Uber currently insures drivers with $1 million policies, but only from the time the driver accepts a pickup to the time the driver drops off the passenger.

That means a driver who is working on the road but has not yet received a request for a ride is not insured by the company unless the driver's personal insurance denies the claim, in which case Uber provides its contingent policy.

The issue became especially heated nationwide after a 6-year-old girl was killed in a crosswalk by a driver logged into the Uber app in San Francisco on New Year's Eve. The girl's family contends Uber is financially responsible because the driver was waiting for customers. Uber says it isn't liable because no passengers were in the car.

The vote comes after weeks of aggressive media campaigns by Uber, which says it shouldn't be subject to the same regulations as cabs because they do not pick up people from the street, but rather members of the service who request a driver.

Gov. Jan Brewer has expressed concern about the bill.

"The governor's concern has always been about balancing innovation with consumer safety, and protecting consumer safety," said Don Hughes, deputy director of policy. "We have told them that there should be no gaps of insurance coverage."

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