Illinois House Passes Legislation Holding Rideshare Services Liable For Passenger Safety

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File

The Illinois House of Representatives passed legislation earlier this week that would hold rideshare services liable in the event that someone is injured or attacked during a trip.

The legislation is an amendment to the existing Transportation Network Providers Act, eliminating provisions that a "transportation network", such as Uber or Lyft, are not equivalent to a taxicab association and therefore cannot be held liable in the event of an incident.

The amendment to the bill passed the Illinois House on a 73-36 vote, with the measure facing some opposition from the chamber's Republicans.

According to NBC affiliate WAND, one House Democrat said rideshare drivers have been fighting for this change, saying the bill establishes responsibility for the widely-used services.

"This particular bill, which I believe is very important, establishes the duty of care on Lyft and Uber and the large companies who are making multiple millions of dollars off of people driving in their own cars at their own expense," Urbana Democrat Carol Ammons said.

GOP House members argued the change was unnecessary, with one Decatur Republican saying the proposal was attacking the free market while stating that he takes rideshare services often and believes the drivers take adequate care of passengers, according to WAND.

"If they didn't, they wouldn't be doing what they're doing," Rep Dan Caulkins said. "They wouldn't be in business for very long. That driver would get poor ratings and no one would hail them. This is another attack on the free market." 

The measure passes the same week as the body of a 21-year-old woman who was missing since January was recovered in Little Village. The woman, Rosa Chacon, was last seen alive while entering an Uber vehicle not far from where her body was found.

The legislation now heads to the Illinois Senate for further consideration. Shall the measure pass the Senate, the bill's amendment will head to the desk of Gov. Pritzker to sign into law.

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