Still, the company’s phenomenal rise has not been without controversy. A number of lawsuits have been filed against the company for crimes including a wrongful death claim against an Uber driver who ran over and killed a six-year-old. And just recently, a Delhi woman has sued the company after Uber driver Shiv Kumar Yadav allegedly raped her.
Criticism has also emerged concerning Uber’s user privacy policies. For example, in what is known as “God Mode,” Uber staff can track its customers’ movements. But instead of addressing some of these concerns, Emil Michael, senior vice president of Uber, added fuel to critics’ fire by suggesting that the company “dig into the personal lives and backgrounds” of those who report negatively about Uber.
This week, however, the company has won at least one important victory. On Friday, the California Department of Motor Vehicles decided to revoke an earlier memo (Vehicle Industry News alert VIN 2015-01) implying that drivers for Uber, as well as its less popular competitors Lyft and Sidecar, needed to carry commercial license plates.
As reported by the LA Times, the agency had earlier stated that passenger vehicles used “for hire, compensation or profit” were considered commercial vehicles and should be registered as such. Buzzfeed, which first reported on the memo, described the requirement as an “existential threat” for ride-service companies because “For drivers to switch their registrations to comply with California law, they would have to pay to make the conversion to commercial status, and shell out for higher annual registration fees.” Additionally, commercial insurance is almost 10 times more expensive than personal coverage, adding another significant expenditure.
But on Friday, Vehicle Industry News alert VIN 2015-01 was revoked. According to California DMV Director Jean Shiomoto, “There remains uncertainty about the interaction and effect of this law governing vehicle registration requirements with the more recent regulatory and statutory changes affecting ride share operators.” In his statement, Shiomoto continues that the matter requires further review before a definitive decision is reached. At least for now, these companies and their drivers are ‘safe.’
(Photo courtesy of of Raldo)