Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

Lyft and Uber Vehicle and Driver Requirements

Published on Dec 8, 2023 by Thomas Law Offices.

Lyft and Uber Vehicle and Driver Requirements
Unsurprisingly to those of us who live here, the Windy City ranks among the cities with the most rideshare activity in the United States.

For several years, the City of Chicago municipal government has been gathering data on every single ride app trip that occurs within city limits. This is done as part of an effort to track the impact of Uber and Lyft activity on more traditional transportation methods like taxi, bus, rail, and the Chicago L.

 From City of Chicago research data, we’ve learned that:

  • Chicago sees an average of 286,000 rideshare trips per day
  • There are more than 17 million trips taken during a two-month period
  • 82% of bookings are a single party, while the remainder are shared rides
  • Chicago’s central business district and Midway and O’Hare airports are the most common starting points for rides
  • Under non-holiday conditions, Uber and Lyft activity is highest on Friday and Saturday nights
  • During weekdays, usage spikes during morning and afternoon work commuting hours

With such high volumes of rideshare traffic inevitably comes a higher number of crashes. To mitigate the risk of collision, ride app drivers have a responsibility to keep themselves and their vehicles as safe as possible.

Learn the Lyft and Uber vehicle and driver requirements operators must follow in Chicago. We’ll look at:

  • Chicago Uber requirements set by the Uber company
  • Chicago Lyft requirements set by the Lyft company
  • Lyft and Uber requirements set by the City of Chicago
  • Lyft and Uber requirements set by the state of Illinois

If you were hurt in an Uber accident or Lyft accident, our accomplished legal team can help you hold a driver or company accountable for the negligence that caused you or a loved one harm.

Requirements for Chicago Uber Drivers (From Uber)

The Uber company requires operators in Chicago to meet these and other minimum standards.

Driver Requirements

  • Meet the minimum age to drive in the city of operation (in Chicago, 19 years of age)
  • Have one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S., or three years for drivers under 25
  • Possess an in-state driver’s license
  • Have proof of residency in the city or state of operation
  • Have proof of vehicle insurance (if driving your own car)
  • Submit to an online driver screening that looks at driving record and criminal history
  • Take a profile photo that is forward-facing and centered with full face and top of shoulders, with no sunglasses

Vehicle Requirements

These vehicle standards apply to UberX, the most popular vehicle option. Other requirements apply to higher tiers of ride service like UberXL (for additional passengers) or Uber Black (for luxury rides).

  • Vehicle no older than 16 years
  • Four-door vehicle with independently-opening passenger doors
  • No vans, box trucks, taxi cabs, or government vehicles
  • On the list of Eligible Vehicles in Chicago
  • No salvaged or rebuilt vehicles
  • Five factory-installed seats and seat belts
  • No aftermarket seating modifications
  • Good vehicle condition with no cosmetic damage
  • Working windows and air conditioning
  • No commercial branding
  • Affixed with the Uber logo in the correct location
  • An insurance policy in accordance with state and local laws
  • Valid official or temporary registration documents (does not need to be in the driver’s name)
  • Pass a vehicle inspection every year at an Uber Greenlight Hub location, a Jiffy Lube, or another approved, certified auto mechanic in Chicago

Requirements for Chicago Lyft Drivers (From Lyft)

The Lyft company requires operators in Chicago to meet these and other minimum standards.

Driver Requirements

  • 25 years of age or older
  • At least one year of driving experience
  • Valid driver’s license (temporary and out-of-state licenses accepted)
  • A driver profile photo that meets requirements
  • A digital ID card through the Lyft Driver app
  • A background check to investigate driving records and criminal history
  • Must take a full, uninterrupted six-hour break for every 12 hours on driver duty
  • Complete the Lyft Community Safety Education program in partnership with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
  • May be disqualified from driving for any of these reasons:
    • Four or more moving violations in the past three years (including running a red light or being involved in a car accident)
    • One major moving violation in the past three years (including driving on a suspended license or reckless driving)
    • One serious driving-related conviction in the past seven years (including a hit-and-run or a felony involving a vehicle)
    • One DUI or other drug-related driving violation in the past seven years

Vehicle Requirements

  • 2008 or newer
  • Four doors
  • Five to eight seats, including the driver seat
  • Not titled as salvage, non-repairable, rebuilt, or another similar classification
  • Not a taxi or stretch limousine
  • Proof of vehicle registration
  • Proof of personal auto insurance (must be in the driver’s name)
  • Submit a Lyft Chicago vehicle inspection form before hire and annually
  • Display the Lyft emblem, airport placard, and other emblems where appropriate and required

City of Chicago Ordinances Uber and Lyft Drivers Must Follow

The municipal government of the City of Chicago has created a set of rules for rideshare service providers (referred to as “Transportation Network Providers”) operating within city limits.

These are a few of the Chicago rideshare laws Lyft and Uber companies and drivers must follow:

  • Drivers may not be on duty for more than 12 hours within a 24-hour period
  • After 12 consecutive hours on duty, drivers must break for at least 8 consecutive hours
  • Must display a sign reading “For compliments and complaints, please call 311.”
  • Meet vehicle inspection requirements established by Chicago Municipal Code 9-115-110
  • May not pick up passengers by street hail or from taxi stands
  • May not possess or operate under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, cannabis, or other similar substance
  • Must be courteous and refrain from profane language, insults, or racial slurs
  • Must follow all Chicago ride hail data-reporting laws for data on trips, times, locations, and more
  • Companies must report drivers for any conduct that could pose a public safety concern, such as criminal investigation, arrest, or conviction, complaints of sexual assault, alcohol or drug use, or other allegations of misconduct

Illinois Rideshare Laws That Apply to Lyft and Uber Drivers

Illinois policymakers have enacted legislation to regulate the rideshare industry across the state. In Illinois, it is illegal for a local-level government (like the City of Chicago or Cook County government) to create rideshare laws that are less restrictive than those at the state level.

The Illinois Transportation Network Providers Act defines a transportation network company (TNC) as a company that “uses a digital network or software application service to connect passengers to transportation network company services provided by transportation network company drivers.”

Uber and Lyft are by far the most popular TNCs in Chicago, followed by Via.

Illinois rideshare laws cover many aspects, requiring TNCs to adhere to these and other regulations:

  • Obtain full legal name, social security number, address, age, date of birth, driver’s license, driving history, motor vehicle registration, automobile liability insurance, and other information to meet safe hiring practices before hiring a new driver
  • Conduct a criminal background check and sex offender database search before hiring
  • Obtain and review a driving history research report before hiring
  • Maintain at least the minimum automobile liability insurance coverage
  • Maintain at least the minimum amounts for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
  • Implement a zero-tolerance policy on the use of drugs or alcohol for drivers while on duty

Under Illinois law, an individual may not be hired to drive for a company like Uber or Lyft if they:

  • Are under 19 years of age
  • Do not have a valid driver’s license
  • Do not have proof of registration for the motor vehicle used to provide services
  • Do not have proof of automobile liability insurance for the motor vehicle
  • Are a match in the National Sex Offenders Registry database
  • Submit any false information on the application for employment
  • Have more than three traffic moving violations in the past three years
  • Have one major traffic violation in the prior three-year period (may include running from police, reckless driving, or driving on a suspended or revoked license)
  • Have been convicted within the past seven years of:
    • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
    • Fraud,
    • A sexual offense,
    • Use of a motor vehicle to commit a felony,
    • A crime involving property damage,
    • Theft,
    • Acts of violence, or
    • Acts of terror

These laws are designed to protect rideshare customers, drivers, and other motorists and pedestrians sharing the roads. If any of these laws are broken, the company must bear the consequences of their negligence.

Injured in a Lyft or Uber Crash in Chicago? You Have Options.

Rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber have given Chicago residents a convenient, flexible transportation option that often fits needs not met by other modes of transport. Like any type of public transportation, however, we need to make sure that users are safe from the actions of negligent companies and operators.

Lyft and Uber vehicle and driver requirements work to make sure riders are protected from harm. But these regulations are only effective when they are followed and enforced. If you believe the wrongful actions of a driver or company led to your injuries, we want to help.

Contact Thomas Law Offices to discuss your case with an attorney experienced in Lyft and Uber crash cases. A consultation to learn your legal options is free.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Legal & Firm News

Can Medical Errors Cause PTSD?

When you suffer negligence at the hands of a medical provider, obvious physical issues arise in the aftermath. Your illness is worse instead of better, or you have a new injury that you didn’t have before. The stress and frustration of your situation might feel overwhelming and unstoppable, and you may begin to feel symptoms […]

Read More

5 Strategies To Keep Your Loved Ones Safe in the Hospital

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as many as 35.5 million hospitalizations occur in the United States annually. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) comparing hospitalization rates among 1-64-year-olds between 2009 and 2018 shows that just 5.2% of Americans in that age range were […]

Read More

How To Report Suspected Nursing Home Neglect in Kentucky

When we decide to move our loved ones into a nursing home or long-term care facility, we expect the staff there to take care of our family members as if they were family, too. But unfortunately, all too often, our loved ones are taken advantage of or neglected while under the care of nursing home […]

Read More
Tad Thomas on The National Crime Victim Bar Association
National Civil Justice Institute - Trustee
Tad Thomas on Lawyer Minds
Tad Thomas on American Association for Justice
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Ohio Association for Justice
Kentucky Justice Association
Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America
Martindale Hubbell Preeminent
2021 Public Justice Member
AAJ Masters of Trial Law: Champion