TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Local governments would be prohibited from crafting new rules while the state studies the “potential positive” impacts of Uber and other transportation network services, under a provision added to the criminal and civil-justice portion of the budget Monday.
Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said the $10,000 study by the Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability would look at the impact app-based ride-share services have on reducing drunk driving in Florida.
“There is evidence that the use of transportation services actually results in fewer DUIs and crashes,” Negron said. “I think it would be better if we can get some information on the potential positive effects of people making increased use of alternative transportation arrangements if they’re not in a position to drive safely on the highways.”
While the study is underway, local governments would be restricted from enacting new rules regarding Uber and other transportation network services, Negron said. The moratorium wouldn’t impact laws that are currently on the books.
The study would need to be completed by April 1, 2016.
Negron said the proposal was brought forward by Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican who has been a backer of Uber. The San Francisco-based Uber has set up a web page to gather signatures from riders and supporters urging that ride-sharing issues be considered during the ongoing special legislative session, but bills regarding the ride-share services were not formally added to the three-week session.
During this spring’s regular legislative session, lawmakers failed to advance a proposal for statewide regulations that would have overridden local rules for the fast-growing transportation networks. Also, lawmakers did not take action on new insurance requirements for the ride-sharing companies.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.