TRENTON –Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg that would criminalize fraudulently pretending to be a transportation network company driver, such as for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, was released today out of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
Under the bill, it would be considered a crime of the fourth degree if a person falsely pretends to be a transportation network company driver for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another. In addition, if the person knowingly exhibits or displays a falsely purported identifying marker, then it is a crime of the third degree.
“Too often in recent years, we have seen dozens of cases across the country of people stepping into what they believe to be their Uber or Lyft car, only to discover that their driver does not actually work for a rideshare service, and may in fact be seeking to deceive, exploit or even rob or kill potential riders,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “As The New York Times reported, outside crowded areas like airports, bars, or clubs, it is too easy for predators to pretend to be drivers for rideshare companies and to deceive innocent people.”
The bill, S-1485 / A-745, is similar to legislation introduced in South Carolina, and is meant as an attempt to keep up with the ways society’s methods of transportation and payment continue to evolve.
“Unfortunately, we in New Jersey are all too well familiar with this problem, as a couple of years ago a 21-year-old Robbinsville resident, and student at the University of South Carolina, was stabbed to death after getting into a car she mistook for her Uber. This bill builds on the commonsense identification reforms included for ridesharing companies in “Sami’s Law,” and will further help protect others from becoming subject to premeditated crime and / or violence.”
A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine up to $10,000, or both. A crime of the third degree carries a penalty of three to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.