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Uber, Lyft Drivers Could Face New California Training Mandate

Aug. 25, 2022, 6:34 PM

Once-and-done training would end for Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., and other ride-share drivers under legislation headed to California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Ride-share companies would have to pay for defensive driving and how-to-deal-with-unruly-passengers training for each driver every two years. The businesses also would have to make sure vehicles get safety inspections every 12 months or 50,000 miles under a bill (AB 2716) passed Wednesday.

Uber and Lyft account for 99% of the ride-shares in the state. The requirements would start July 1, 2023.

The California Public Utilities Commission already requires driver training, though in practice those programs require a driver to watch a safety video, according to a legislative analysis.

“Existing regulations do not provide adequate specificity on what must be included in the training. Likewise, there is no requirement that training be ongoing. This bill would address both issues,” the analysis said.

Training courses would have to include road safety and defensive driving; distracted driving including appropriate use, mounting, and view of mobile devices; passenger de-escalation, including managing intoxicated, unruly, or violent passengers and unaccompanied minors; and complying with vehicle inspection requirements.

The bill’s author, Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D), was in an Uber when the driver, distracted by his phone, ran a red light and the car was T-boned by another vehicle. Grayson said during the floor debate that he had to be extracted from the car.

The Assembly concurred late Wednesday with Senate-adopted changes on a 48-1 vote. The governor has until Sept. 30 to act on the measure that passed the Senate on a 28-1 vote.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at jcutler@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com; Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloombergindustry.com