Opinion

New Innovations Render Ridesharing Regulation Unnecessary

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Posted: Oct 20, 2020 12:01 AM
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New Innovations Render Ridesharing Regulation Unnecessary

Source: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

It is common sense that businesses operate best when they don’t have to shoulder immense regulatory burdens. That’s why, in an era of endless red tape, it is always refreshing to see leaders advocate for a robust deregulatory agenda. However, in the same way that it is encouraging to see government officials push back against government overreach, it is equally as concerning when they pass new rules that will only weigh down private businesses further.

Unfortunately, we saw an example of the latter over the summer. In late July, the House of Representatives passed a new bill called Sami’s Law by a voice vote. The bill, which is modeled after similar legislation passed in New Jersey that was written in honor of a college student who was killed by someone posing as a driver for a ridesharing app, would place several broad new government regulations on the ridesharing industry that are simply unnecessary despite its best intentions.

What primarily makes the bill unneeded is that businesses are already making all the changes that need to be implemented. This is often the case when it comes to new government regulations. It has long been standard practice for ridesharing apps to provide riders with information about a driver’s car as well as their name and picture, and now they are creating a host of additional new ways to keep riders safe as well. 

Ridesharing companies are constantly developing new ways to keep riders and drivers alike safe, and the result has been comprehensive new capabilities that provide an extra layer of security for those who desire it. For instance, some companies allow customers to opt-in to a verification system that requires both the rider and the driver to confirm a PIN code before the app allows the ride to actually begin. Under this new bill, though, many riders would be required to use these types of systems even if they felt perfectly safe without using them. These features should not be thrust upon users and companies by government authorities if they are already being allowed the choice to do so optionally.

That isn’t the only stride ridesharing companies have made toward enhancing safety, either. If a customer feels threatened while using the service, many apps now allow them to directly dial 911 while alerting law enforcement to the exact location of the car they are riding in.

Of course, one of the other perennial truths of new regulations is that they bring with them new costs. As costs rise for ridesharing companies, they could eventually find their way to customers as well, making the services less affordable and accessible to average consumers. Given that so many safety innovations are already underway in the industry, it would be wrong for the government to put that added constraint on everyone involved. 

Thankfully, there are several stewards of conservative deregulatory values that could help to put this bill to a stop before it can pass the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), for example, has long been a proponent of deregulatory policy agendas, and I am sure that trend will continue as this bill is brought up for discussion in the Senate. My home state senators, Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC), are two others I trust to advocate for conservative values in Washington.

Sami’s Law is a well-meaning piece of legislation with an admirable goal, however, new government regulations are not the way to go about achieving it. Instead, allowing ridesharing companies to continue innovating, and allowing customers to decide which safety procedures best fit their needs, is the best path forward. I’m confident Senate leadership will feel the same way and prevent this bill from moving any further ahead.