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LEGISLATURE CONSIDERS UBER CHANGES

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Transportation has always been a challenge for Iowans with disablities, even in urban areas that have bus service and taxis.  Uber is now spreading throughout the country, taking its social media transportation network car service to places like Ames, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and the Quad Cities.  That's got traditional taxi services upset, because they have to comply with more regulations and need commercial insurance to operate their cars. Now Iowa's banking industry is taking notice.

In early March, the House unanimously passed a bill (HF 2414) that would require Uber drivers carry liability insurance. During debate, an additional requirement was added to require comprehensive and collision coverage insurance for drivers, a change that Uber says will drive them out of the state.  Kansas passed similar legislation, and Uber did leave the state until its Legislature reversed its decision.

Iowa's banking industry was behind the addition. Banks loan people money to purchase their cars, so they want to make sure everyone's cars have adequate insurance until they are paid off.  Banks want to see the additional coverage so they aren't left with a worthless (crashed) car and no insurance (since most personal auto insurance won't cover commercial activity like Uber driving). The bill is now in the Senate, and Sen. Tod Bowman is the floor manager.

Legislators will have to find a way to balance the safety of people using Uber, protection of car owners and Uber drivers, and the need for expanded transportation options like this in the state.  Nobody said policy-making was easy!