Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sullivan Republican: Allowing Uber to operate will make Missouri a safer place

(From Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan)

Senate Bill 185

This week, the Transportation Committee I chair held a hearing on a bill that would allow companies like Uber and Lyft to operate statewide. Currently, Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) are only permitted to operate on a city-by-city basis.

The current policy is a prime example of government overreach and unneeded regulation. If passed, this bill would be a huge boon for our state. It would unleash up to 10,000 or more jobs with many drivers going into business for themselves instantly. As Transportation chairman, I decided to hear this bill immediately because I know it will increase employment on Day 1.

This bill means Missouri would join 38 other states that have passed similar bills to allow ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate statewide.

This bill also mandates that a prospective driver be background checked in a local and national database as well as scanned-for in the sex offender registry and terrorist watch list, if a person is a match in either database, they are disqualified as a driver.

Allowing companies like Uber to operate statewide makes Missouri a safer place. A study by Temple University showed that once Uber began operating in cities, there was a 3.6 percent - 5.6 percent decrease in the number of people killed in drunk driving accidents. If Uber was available nationwide, they estimate that it would save 500 lives a year and stop $1.3 billion in losses.

Uber and Lyft-type services may be more immediately useful in the St. Louis County part of my district, but I believe that these services will spread to smaller towns and spur convenient employment across the state.

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