Rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft dispatch vehicles who can get you from point A to point B in an affordable, accessible manner. However, using these apps comes with its own set of risks. In March 2019, University of South Carolina student Sami Josephson was kidnapped and murdered by a man she assumed was her Uber driver. Her death has led to a call for better, more obvious Uber and Lyft signage – but many drivers believe that these signs are illegal.
What Are Uber and Lyft Signs?
When you call an Uber or Lyft to your location, it can be difficult to determine if an approaching vehicle is a ride you are waiting for. Many drivers have stickers on their front windows to indicate their status and Uber and Lyft both list the driver’s information in the app, including the license plate number on the car. However, these identifying features can be very difficult to make out in the dark, and accidentally getting into the wrong vehicle can be dangerous.
To combat this confusion and make it clear to riders that their ride is approaching, many Uber and Lyft drivers have bright neon signs on their dashboard. These signs can come in a variety of colors and proclaim the company that the driver is working for. However, many Uber and Lyft drivers have reported law enforcement officers pulling them over and ticketing them for having these signs on their dashboards.
Uber and Lyft Signs Are Not Illegal
If you are a rideshare driver, you may worry that having a neon sign on your dashboard may cause you to be a magnet for police. First and foremost, it is important to know that having an Uber or Lyft sign on your dashboard is not illegal. Many state laws have advocated against these signs in the past, but due to the push for safety after Sami Josephson’s death, they are legal to use.
However, you can only have the lit-up sign on your dashboard if you are currently working at the time. You cannot use an Uber or Lyft sign if you are not a driver for these companies or if you are a driver, but you are not picking up or dropping off any passengers.
The Importance of Uber and Lyft Signs
Sami Josephson’s death opened the eyes of many people to the potential dangers of ridesharing. In fact, her home state of New Jersey has passed a new law called Sami’s Law that requires greater identification measures for rideshare drivers, and many other states have followed in their footsteps. Uber and Lyft signs provide a safer indication that the driver in question is the correct driver and car.
However, if you are an Uber or Lyft passenger, you should not rely on these signs alone to identify your ride. Anyone can purchase these signs online and place them on their dashboard. When you approach a vehicle you believe to be your driver, double-check the license plate number in your app and ask the driver who he or she is there to pick up.
What to Do When a Police Officer Pulls You Over for an Uber or Lyft Sign
Uber and Lyft signs are not illegal, but a police officer may pull you over if he or she believes that your sign to be an issue. If a police officer pulls you over for your sign, follow these tips.
- Keep calm and comply with the officer.
- If the officer questions you about your sign, explain that you are an Uber or Lyft driver, currently working, and that the sign on your dashboard is for rider safety.
- If the officer gives you a ticket and tells you to take the sign off your dash, comply and take the ticket.
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible to contest your ticket.
You can contest an unfair ticket for an Uber or Lyft sign with the help of a Uber and Lyft rideshare lawyer. Uber and Lyft signs are not illegal if you are a rideshare driver and provide multiple safety benefits for riders.