Driverless cars are immune, Uber shrugs the rules, and how $110,000 became $14,000. LegalRideshare breaks it down.
Lucky autonomous vehicles, a sigh of relief over new gig rules, and an off-balance balance sheet… It’s all here in This Week in Rideshare.
DRIVERLESS CARS IMMUNE FROM TICKETS
Driverless cars can break the rules. NBC News reported:
Driverless cars have been documented running red lights, blocking emergency responders and swerving into construction zones.
But NBC Bay Area has learned that when driverless cars break the rules of the road, there’s not much law enforcement can do. In California, traffic tickets can be written only if there is an actual driver in the car.
While autonomous vehicles in California have received parking citations, the state’s transportation laws appear to leave driverless vehicles immune from receiving any type of traffic ticket stemming from moving violations.
HOW GIG COMPANIES ARE RESPONDING TO RULE CHANGES
Rule changes? What rule changes? Fast Company adds:
The Department of Labor on Tuesday enacted a new rule aimed at preventing the misclassification of workers as independent contractors. The effort, first proposed in October 2022, provides a guide to whether a worker is an employee or an independent operator under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a difference that could afford someone key legal protections and compensation.
The rule is set to take effect March 11.
DoorDash said in a statement that it did not believe the ruling would have a big impact on the company.
Instacart emphasized that the ruling itself doesn’t reclassify workers, but rather provides a framework for future consideration.
Lyft also made it clear that there is no immediate impact on the company as of Tuesday.
In its own statement, Uber also stressed workers’ interest in flexibility and the fact that the rule does not have any current impacts on the company. “This rule does not materially change the law under which we operate, and won’t impact the classification of the over 1 million Americans who turn to Uber to make money flexibly,”
FROM $110,000 TO $14,000
How does one go from making $110,000 to $14,000? By driving for Uber. Business Insider reported:
Michael, a ride-hailing driver in his late 30s, made more than $110,000 in gross earnings driving for Uber and Lyft in 2022. But after commissions paid to the ride-hailing companies, taxes, and other expenses, he ended up with net earnings of just $14,000.
Michael, who’s based in New Jersey and asked to use only his first name for fear of professional repercussions, shared tax documents and screenshots of recent rides that disclose just how little he took home in 2022. Expenses included buying a new engine, having numerous car repairs, and driving amid elevated gas prices. He said he’d noticed ride-hailing driving had become increasingly less profitable after more than 17,000 rides across six years.
As a driver with a spinal injury who takes care of two young kids, he said he’d struggled to make ends meet for himself and his family. He’s soon set to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program funded entirely by Uber, but in the meantime, driving is one of his only options to pull in cash.
“At the end of the year, we incur every single cost from wear and tear to mechanical, cellphones, oil changes, gas, which is our biggest expense, and we’re now getting less pay,” Michael said.