Rideshare Services Must Provide Seatbelts in Georgia
Companies like Uber and Lyft have changed the way we get from place to place. The convenience of using a cellphone application to get a ride to any destination is tremendous innovation.
Taxi services are always a mainstay when we need vehicular transportation. However, getting a ride from an Uber or Lfyt driver who is using his or her own car can be much more comfortable and cost-effective. Ridesharing is also more personable and allows for better interaction between driver and fare. In fact, Georgia law defines a rideshare driver as a person who uses his or her personal car to provide transportation to people who request transportation via a digital network.
The main difference between taxis and ridesharing services, aside from the taxi drivers' obligation to obtain a medallion from the city or town in which the taxi operates is where the fare sits. Taxi passengers always sit in the back seat unless the rear seat is full and the driver allows a passenger to ride in the front. Someone taking a rideshare could sit in the back but may also choose to sit in the front with the driver.
The rideshare driver has an obligation under Georgia law to ensure that all passengers comply with Georgia's seatbelt laws. Therefore, any passenger who chooses to ride in the front with the driver must wear a seatbelt. Additionally, any child passengers must wear a seatbelt or be secured in an approved child safety seat.
Georgia law does not recognize any exceptions for using seatbelts in rideshare vehicles on the one hand. On the other hand, Georgia law exempts taxi passengers and people who ride on public transportation from wearing seatbelts.
Georgia courts will need to sort out legal liability for passenger injuries in rideshare accidents. Typically, the rideshare driver is not an employee of the rideshare company but are independent contractors. That distinction gives Uber and Lyft insulation from legal liability for passenger injuries in an accident.
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