In 2015, Georgia passed a new state law authorizing ridesharing services in the state. This legislation imposes vehicle, driver, and insurance requirements on drivers for transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber.

Georgia’s rideshare laws are fairly basic and generally lower than the minimum standards Lyft and Uber have adopted across the country. Here’s what you should know about the vehicle and driver requirements for Uber and Lyft in Columbus, Georgia, as a rider or prospective driver. 

Georgia Vehicle Requirements for Uber and Lyft

Georgia law only requires rideshare vehicles to be in safe working order. Lyft and Uber have slightly different minimum requirements to meet to ensure your vehicle is eligible. 

There are more specific vehicle requirements depending on the service, such as UberX, Uber Comfort, Lyft XL, and Lyft Extra Comfort. 

These are the basic Lyft vehicle requirements in Columbus, Georgia

  • 2012 model year or newer
  • Four doors
  • Five to eight seats, including the driver’s seat
  • At least five seat belts, including the driver’s
  • Valid vehicle registration
  • Cannot have a salvage, rebuild, non-repairable, or equivalent title
  • Cannot use a stretch limousine, taxi, or non-Express Drive rental vehicle
  • Lyft emblem must be displayed while in driver mode

Uber requirements are very similar. Basic Uber vehicle requirements in Columbus, GA, include: 

  • Vehicle 16 years old or newer
  • Four doors
  • Good condition without cosmetic damage
  • No commercial branding
  • Valid vehicle registration

The vehicle does not need to be registered in your name, but valid registration is required.

In addition to company requirements, there are vehicle requirements that apply if you accept rides to or from Hartsfield-Jacksonville Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

Georgia Driver Requirements for Uber and Lyft

Uber and Lyft drivers must meet minimum Georgia legal requirements to be rideshare drivers. The companies also have their own requirements, which usually go beyond state law. For instance, Georgia law only requires rideshare drivers to be at least 18, but Lyft and Uber both have a higher minimum age. 

Basic Uber driver requirements in Columbus, GA: 

  • Valid in-state driver’s license
  • 21 years or older
  • At least one year of driving experience (three years for drivers under 25)
  • Pass a background check
  • Pass a driving history check

Lyft has a higher minimum age for rideshare drivers but otherwise similar requirements for drivers in Georgia: 

  • Valid driver’s license
  • 25 years or older
  • Pass a background check 
  • Pass a driving history check

Unlike Uber, Lyft allows an out-of-state driver’s license. They also have no minimum driving experience to be accepted. 

Lyft runs background checks through Checkr, Inc., a third-party company. You may be disqualified if you are listed on the National Sex Offender Registry database or convicted of any of the following offenses: 

  • No DUI or drug-related violations in the past seven years
  • No driving-related convictions such as hit-and-run or felonies in the past seven years
  • No drug-related offenses, sexual offenses, violent crimes, felony convictions, and convictions for certain property damage and theft offenses

Uber runs background checks through Checkr, Inc. or other companies like HireRight and Samba Safety. Unlike Lyft, Uber’s policy specifically states drivers are disqualified for convictions within the past seven years. Lyft rejects applications with convictions for sexual offenses, violent crimes, and felonies, no matter how long ago. Uber’s policy is unclear as some drivers report being rejected due to misdemeanors older than seven years. 

The driving check is performed by Safety Holdings Inc. You may be disqualified if your driving record has: 

  • Four or more moving violations in the past three years
  • One major moving violation in the past three years
  • DUI or drug-related driving offense in the past seven years
  • A serious driving-related conviction in the past seven years

Uber reruns its driver screenings at least once per year and uses technology to look for criminal offenses committed by drivers between screenings. Drivers are also asked to occasionally take a photo of themselves to match against their on-file ID. This ensures drivers are not using someone else’s identity. 

Mandatory Breaks and Time Limits for Georgia Drivers

Both Uber and Lyft limit how long drivers can be active and require mandatory breaks. These policies are designed to prevent drowsy driving accidents. 

Drivers must take an uninterrupted six-hour break for every 12 hours in driver mode, even if they are not consecutive. The system will lock you out until you take the required six-hour break. 

Georgia Insurance Requirements for Lyft and Uber

Rideshare drivers are required by Lyft and Uber to carry personal vehicle insurance. A driver must carry minimum liability insurance in Georgia: 

  • $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability coverage per accident

Drivers are typically not covered by personal auto insurance while driving for Lyft or Uber, but it depends on various factors (like the driver’s status at the time of the accident). A specialized policy, usually called rideshare insurance, is necessary to cover passengers and property damage in an accident. 

Lyft and Uber both provide commercial liability coverage, which takes effect when drivers have accepted a ride request and are driving to a passenger or have a passenger in their vehicle. 

After lobbying efforts by Uber and Lyft, Georgia passed a new law in 2023 that reduced this passenger protection by 90%. Lyft and Uber now only need to provide $100,000 in coverage for bodily injury or death per person, down from $1 million. 

Getting Compensation After an Uber or Lyft Accident

If you are involved in a rideshare accident in Columbus, the rideshare driver or the company may be responsible if their negligence caused your injuries.

Uber and Lyft are legally responsible for ensuring drivers are only approved when they meet these driving record and background check guidelines. They may be liable for injuries caused by negligent enforcement of driver requirements. 

Rideshare companies may even bear responsibility for retaining a driver after they have caused an accident, committed a serious crime or driving offense, or have been reported for dangerous behavior. 

Rideshare drivers can be held liable for your damages if you were injured in an accident they caused. However, rideshare injury cases are notoriously complex thanks to two or more insurance policies that may only be in effect at specific times. 

An experienced Columbus rideshare accident lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and pursue fair compensation after an accident. Contact Mark Casto Personal Injury Law Firm for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney to discuss your case and how we can help you.

Contact the Columbus Car Accident Lawyers at Mark Casto Personal Injury Law Firm Today

If you were injured in an accident in Columbus, GA, and need legal help, contact our Columbus car accident lawyers at Mark Casto Personal Injury Law Firm to schedule a free case review today.

Mark Casto Personal Injury Law Firm
233 12th St #808, Columbus, GA 31901
(706) 940-4030