California was the first state to regulate rideshare companies, their drivers, and their vehicles in 2013. Texas followed suit four years later in 2017, establishing comprehensive laws — covering everything from background checks on drivers to the size of the vehicles they can drive. These laws were designed to protect the safety and security of passengers and other motorists. 

Sources of Uber and Lyft Vehicle and Driver Requirements

Rideshare companies and their drivers must comply with three main sets of requirements.

State Licensing Laws

Uber and Lyft drivers, like all drivers in the state, must comply with state traffic laws, but unlike taxi and bus drivers, they do not need special driver’s licenses. More importantly, since rideshare companies do not employ their drivers as “employees,” Texas law ordinarily excludes them from liability for Uber and Lyft accidents.

Nevertheless, rideshare drivers must have a valid driver’s license, meaning they must hold the same licenses and driving qualifications as any other driver on the streets of Texas.

State Transportation Network Company Laws

Instead of requiring special licenses, Texas places a burden on rideshare companies, referred to hereafter as transportation network companies (TNCs) under state law, in order to vet drivers. Applicants submit applications to the TNC, which itself must have procedures in place to ensure the drivers meet the state’s requirements for rideshare drivers.

TNCs are also responsible for making sure their drivers’ vehicles meet state standards. In Texas, however, though they will ask about a driver’s vehicle and request supporting documents, like a vehicle registration certificate, neither Uber nor Lyft inspects the vehicle to ensure the driver accurately describes it.

Rideshare Company Policies

Texas’s rideshare laws set the groundwork for driver and vehicle standards. Higher requirements for drivers and vehicles can certainly be set, but the laws simply mean that the initial standard cannot be lowered.

For example, rideshare drivers must be at least 18 years old under Texas’ TNC laws, but Lyft sets a minimum age of 25 years old for its drivers. Here, Lyft has exercised its authority under state law to set a higher standard for a driver’s age.

Texas Driver Requirements For Uber and Lyft

Texas law sets three general requirements for Uber and Lyft drivers:


Texas law sets two insurance minimums for rideshare drivers. 

When a driver is logged into the TNC system but not carrying passengers, the driver must have at least the following:

  • $50,000 per person up to $100,000 per accident of bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage
  • $25,000 per accident of property damage liability (PDL) coverage

BIL coverage pays accident victims for their losses after a crash caused by the insured driver, and it covers all road users, including the following:

When the driver is carrying passengers, they must have at least $1 million in BIL/PDL coverage. Since most drivers would have trouble obtaining that kind of coverage, Texas law allows drivers to combine their personal insurance coverage with any coverage obtained by the rideshare company for which they drive.

Criminal Background Check

TNCs must conduct a criminal background check on all of their applicants, and it must cover at least one nationwide database. 

The TNC cannot accept any driver who has a conviction within the preceding seven years for any of the following offenses:

  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony, like vehicular assault
  • A felony crime that led to property damage like arson
  • Fraud
  • Theft
  • A misdemeanor or felony act of violence or terrorism

TNCs must also reject any applications submitted by registered sex offenders.

Driving History Check

TNCs must obtain the potential driver’s driving history for the preceding three years, and they must reject any driver with three or more moving violations cited during that period. 

Furthermore, they must also reject drivers with any conviction for:

  • Fleeing a law enforcement officer
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving without a driver’s license
  • Driving with an invalid driver’s license

However, these restrictions go away after the three-year period expires, so if a driver was convicted of reckless driving five years ago, Texas will allow the TNC to accept them.

Be that as it may, rideshare companies have notoriously unclear driver requirements. This allows them flexibility in case their risk management assessment shows that a driver could expose them to liability. Thus, even though Uber or Lyft could accept a driver with a five-year-old reckless driving conviction, they may choose not to accept them.

Texas Vehicle Requirements For Uber and Lyft

Texas sets very broad vehicle requirements for TNCs. The companies must ensure that their vehicles meet the Texas Motor Vehicle Code, which generally means the vehicle must be “street legal” with headlights, brake lights, a horn, and other mandatory equipment. It also denotes that the vehicle cannot have illegal equipment installed, like a front windshield tint.

Uber and Lyft, on the other hand, impose several specific requirements on the vehicles their drivers can use. 

Uber drivers must use a vehicle that:

  • Is 16 years old or newer
  • Has four doors
  • Is in good condition
  • Lacks cosmetic damage
  • Has no commercial branding

Lyft requires drivers to use vehicles that:

  • Are from the model year of 2009 or newer
  • Have four doors
  • Have five to eight seats, including the driver’s seat
  • Have a valid license plate, although that does not need to be a Texas license plate
  • Do not appear on Lyft’s list of ineligible sub-compact vehicles

Both Uber and Lyft allow drivers to use rental cars from approved vendors. Lyft even operates a rental program itself.

Liability For Violating Uber or Lyft Vehicle and Driver Requirements in TX

Suppose an Uber or Lyft driver crashes into you, and during your insurance claim, you find out the driver did not meet their TNC’s driver or vehicle requirements. Unfortunately, that will set off a cascade of claim denials.

Both the driver’s insurer and the TNC’s insurer might deny any claims if the driver lied in order to be approved to drive. Similarly, the TNC might deny liability since the driver tricked the company into approving them as a driver.

In these situations, you may need to call upon the assistance of an injury lawyer. Of all the parties involved in the crash, you are likely the least blameworthy. An experienced Texas personal injury attorney can find ways to put the liability for your losses on the driver and TNC where it belongs.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Texas

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth or Dallas and need legal help, contact our car accident lawyers at Anderson Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation. We proudly serve Tarrant County, Dallas County, and throughout Texas.

Anderson Injury Lawyers – Fort Worth Office
1310 W El Paso St, Fort Worth, TX 76102
(817) 294-1900

Anderson Injury Lawyers – Fort Worth Office (Secondary)
6618 Fossil Bluff Dr # 108, Fort Worth, TX 76137
(817) 631-4113

Anderson Injury Lawyers – Dallas Office
408 W Eighth St Suite 202, Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 327-8000

Anderson Injury Lawyers – Dallas Office (Secondary)
6301 Gaston Ave suite 610, Dallas, TX 75214
(469) 457-4711