Good Question: Are Uber and Lyft signs illegal?

July 01, 2019 08:38 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — You've probably seen them before. Bright, illuminated signs on the dashboards of Uber and Lyft cars.

Pat Taney was asked about them for this week's Good Question report.


Scott Powell was pulled over for having similar neon signs in his car years ago.

"I was pulled over a few different times and told any lighting that was not factory was illegal," he said. "How are they [ridesharing drivers] able to drive around with those in their front windows?" 

Those signs in question are bright blue or pink. Many of them flash at night.

"I can see how there would be some confusion because emergency vehicles also have flashing lights," said Sgt. Michael Anderson with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Those signs, even for ridesharing drivers, used to be against state law but not anymore.

"No, they're not," Anderson said. "The state actually amended the law which mandates them to have signage on the lower right-hand corner of the windshield. The law states those signs have to be large, color-contrasted to see in day and night."

The law was changed to help people better identify the ride they ordered. It's to avoid cases like what happened to a young woman in South Carolina.

Samantha Josephson, 21, mistakenly got into a car she thought was the Uber she ordered.

It wasn't.

Police say she was murdered by the man who pretended to be her driver.

These signs help make it clear when a person is a working ridesharing driver, but the drivers must be on the clock when the lights are on.

"You have to be working at the time," Anderson said. "That is one of the stipulations in the section."

If you're not an Uber or Lyft driver, then any neon, illuminated sign could get you in trouble.

It's important to note — anyone can order these illuminated signs on the internet. To be safe, both Uber and Lyft recommend you not only look for the sign but make sure the driver's license plate matches the one you ordered on their apps.


Pat Taney

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