- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Drivers of ride-booking services Lyft and Uber in New Mexico should face strict drug testing requirements like taxi drivers and keep detailed records of such tests, the state Attorney General Hector Balderas told regulators Monday.

In a letter to the state’s Public Regulation Commission, Balderas asked commissioners to strengthen public safety standards around ride-booking services amid new rules.

Last week, the state’s Public Regulation Commission voted 4-1 on new regulations clearing way for the companies to function under guidelines separate from those that govern traditional taxi services. But detailed drug testing requirements were dropped.

Instead, the commission voted to adopts rules requiring testing only after accidents.

Balderas said that wasn’t enough. “Although (transportation networking companies) are subject to the same requirements as other motor carriers for drug and alcohol testing, the new regulations do not require TNCs to maintain records of the tests,” Balderas wrote. “As a result, there is not effective way to monitor whether a TNC is complying with drug and alcohol testing requirements.”

The San Francisco-based Lyft and Uber use smartphone programs to connect people seeking rides with people who have cars. Both had been operating in New Mexico despite complaints for taxi companies.

Spokeswomen for Lyft and Uber did not immediately return emails from The Associated Press.

The legal status of Uber and Lyft in New Mexico had been in limbo since they began offering services in the state last year. The two businesses say the state’s Motor Carrier Act doesn’t apply to them because neither operates as a commercial taxi business. Rather, they offer an online service that allows people with cars to connect with people seeking rides, the companies said.

Balderas also urged commissions to take public input in order to consider changes to new rules.

Last year, the commission ordered Lyft to cease operations in Albuquerque, where the company had launched its service. A district judge in Santa Fe refused to enforce the commission’s order, allowing the company to operate in the capital city.


Follow Russell Contreras at https://twitter.com/russcontreras

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide