Colorado this week became the first state to regulate smartphone rides-on-demand businesses such as Uber.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law Thursday measures that mandate drivers pass background checks, vehicles be inspected by mechanics and ride companies carry $1 million in liability insurance.
Hickenlooper spokesman Eric Brown had no comment on the new measures.
Companies that enable the public to hail rides from drivers via smartphone apps have become a popular choice, competing with taxis and limousines.
The business as a whole, however, has come under scrutiny. Traditional transportation companies, which are heavily regulated, have criticized the rides-on-demand model, complaining that the services have an unfair advantage because they are not required to follow the same rules.
Safety has become an issue too.
A driver with Uber was arrested this week on suspicion of kidnapping a drunk woman and taking her to a hotel for the purpose of sexual assault, Los Angeles police said.
In a blog post Thursday, Uber hailed Colorado for the laws.
“Make no mistake, Colorado has sent a clear message that it embraces innovation, supports consumer choice and empowers small-business owners,” the company post said. “This new law ensures that other rideshare providers meet these same stringent requirements so that all options in Colorado are safe for everyone.”
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