Independent Women’s Voice, which fights to enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities, opposes Sami’s Law (H.R. 4686) which, in its current form, would create new federal regulations, fines and mandates for ridesharing companies.
Passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year, H.R. 4686 would establish a new 15-member oversight council in the Department of Transportation to put forward future regulations with no clear boundaries on what the council may propose. If enacted, companies accused of noncompliance could face fines of up to $20,000 per day.
The bill, prompted by the horrible and tragic death of USC student Samantha Josephson who got into a car that she mistook for her Uber, claims to advance the safety of rideshare passengers, especially women. However, despite these noble intentions, it would likely trigger unintended consequences, harming both passengers and drivers.
Ridesharing companies recognize their responsibility to protect their riders. That is why these companies have voluntarily adopted new and improved security measures, such as requiring criminal background checks for all drivers and an enhanced identification process which gives riders access to drivers’ licenses, car information and license plate numbers.
Ridesharing is already heavily regulated by state and local governments. Unnecessary and overly burdensome federal regulations, like the ones in H.R. 4686, will undoubtedly drive up costs, not just for companies, but also for consumers who rely on these services.
Increased costs will also lead to reduced opportunities for those seeking employment. Now is not the time to undermine the rideshare industry or the gig economy at large. Many Americans are facing tough economic times due to the coronavirus crisis and some are turning to gig work to make ends meet.
Furthermore, many rideshare workers, especially women, value the ability to set their own schedules. H.R. 4686 has the potential to reduce the number of jobs that offer this flexibility.
We urge all Senators to reject Sami’s Law if it comes to the floor for a vote.
Hadley Heath Manning
Director of Policy
Independent Women’s Voice