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March 15, 2024 | Lopez Franco PLLC

Houston’s Traffic Laws and Rideshare Accidents: What You Need to Know

Like all major cities, Houston has specific traffic laws and regulations to ensure road safety and minimize accidents. The rise of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft—known as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)  in Texas—has raised other unique considerations regarding accidents involving these vehicles. Here’s a top-level summary of what you need to know by a Houston rideshare accident attorney.

Driver Qualifications

In 2017, Texas passed a law governing the actions of Transportation Network Companies to reduce the conflict among competing local laws and regulations. Transportation Network Companies are those companies that provide pre-arranged transportation services for compensation using an internet-enabled application or digital platform to connect passengers with drivers who use their personal vehicles to provide vehicle-for-hire services. 

To qualify to operate as part of a TNC in Texas, a driver must:

  • Be 18 years of age
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Maintain proof of registration and automobile insurance 
  • Pass a local, state, and national background check

A driver will be disqualified for having been convicted of a crime in the past three years, having had more than three moving violations, or been convicted of the following specific state laws:

  • Attempting to elude a police officer
  • Reckless driving  
  • Driving without a license

Additionally, a driver will be disqualified if convicted in the past seven years of the following:

  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony
  • Being involved in a felony crime involving  property damage
  • Being involved in fraud, theft, an act of violence or terrorism, or found to be a national sex offender

Other Requirements for Rideshare Drivers

These are additional requirements for TNC companies and their drivers:

  • TNCs must pay certain fees, including an annual fee, to cover the costs of administering the law.
  • The law mandates insurance coverages, and a driver must have an aggregate limit of liability of $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage for each incident. The amount of insurance coverage required between rides is also mandated but at lower levels. 
  • TNCs must disclose to their riders how the fare is calculated and give an estimated fare if requested.
  • In the event of a rideshare accident, drivers are required to report the incident to their TNC and local authorities promptly. 
  • As of September 1, 2023, TNCs must provide annual online training to their drivers on human trafficking awareness and prevention. 
  • In addition to specific rideshare laws, drivers must abide by local and state laws regarding speed limits, traffic signs, distracted driving and DUI, vehicle maintenance, and other pertinent rules and regulations.

Contact Lopez Franco PLLC Today

Determining liability in rideshare accidents can be complex, especially if multiple parties are involved. Liability in a rideshare accident may depend on factors such as driver negligence, road conditions, and the actions of other motorists. 
An experienced Houston rideshare accident attorney may be necessary to navigate the complexities of rideshare accident claims and pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact Lopez Franco PLLC to help you understand your rights if you’ve been injured in a rideshare accident.