New DMV Laws Aim to Improve Rider Safety

Ride-share drivers have stricter regulations for drinking and driving, and seat-belts are now required on all new buses.

Posted: Jul. 2, 2018 3:10 PM
Updated: Jul. 3, 2018 4:08 AM

Chico, Calif. -- "It's shouldn't be a part of your job, that 'Oh I had a couple drinks so now I'm going to go drive'," said Dye.

Logan Dye became an Uber driver to help out with cash as he wraps up his last year of college -- and he takes it seriously.

"I appreciate being able to give rides for money, it's a good source of income for me,' said Dye.

Because the ride-sharing industry is booming - and it allows drivers to essentially be their own bosses - the Department of Motor Vehicles has laid down a new law: If a driver has a blood alcohol level of 0.04%, they'll be arrest for driving under the influence.

"I wouldn't want to pick someone up after I've had a few drinks, and I wouldn't want someone that picks me up to have a few drinks" said Dye.

Dye says he's on board with the stricter standards - because rider sharing companies do not keep strict tabs on driver conduct - it's all through rider review.

"Once you pass the background check and inspection, you're pretty much good to go" said Dye.

Dye's not the only Uber driver who's told me that aside from the vehicle inspection and a couple of questions, there really wasn't a lot of oversight.

But will this really solve the larger issue and make ride-sharing any safer?

"When people are drinking and driving, bad things happen, crashes happen, people die. I really don't think it's safe," said Chico resident Cecilia Williams.

"The more regulation the safer we might feel, but i'm not always for extra regulation - they're drivers, we're drivers. You can use reviews to make comments and feedbacks and they can not get rides - we have these built in perameters we can use, we don't need to government or the DMV" said Linda Rogers, Chico resident.

Another new law no in effect requires that all new buses be made with seatbelts - and if there are seatbelts on a bus, passengers have to wear them or face citation.
Luckily, thanks to an upgrade to 8 new buses through an air-quality grant, 75% of the 40 buses at Chico Unified have seat belts.

"The high schoolers were like, 'We've been riding these buses for the past 10-12 years!', so we got a little push-back, but we greased the tracks by putting out a lot of information to the parents saying, 'This is coming, everybody has to wear them'," said Bob Ontiveros at CUSD's transportation department.

If you're thinking that this is a big responsibility to put on one person who is also driving the bus, he or she will not be fined if a rider doesn't stay buckled up .

Under the new law, as long as the driver gives out the instructions to buckle up, the penalty falls on the student or rider if the bus is pulled over.

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