Uber has raised its minimum driver age in California to 25, up from 19, as initially reported by The Associated Press. The company allegedly changed the policy because of climbing commercial auto insurance costs in the state. However, it only affects new signups; drivers already approved before Wednesday will remain eligible.
In a statement to Engadget, Uber chalked the decision up to the state’s insurance rates and litigation environment. “California’s insurance coverage requirements for rideshare are baselessly higher than nearly every other car on the road: up to thirty times that of taxis and thirty times that of personal vehicles,” an Uber spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement to Engadget. “As a result of these lopsided requirements, personal injury attorneys have created a cottage industry specializing in suing rideshare platforms like ours, pushing Uber’s California state-mandated commercial insurance costs to rise by more than 65% in just two years. By increasing the age requirement for new drivers to 25, we hope to mitigate the growth of those costs.”
“We hope to work with lawmakers, policy leaders, and industry experts to discuss legislative and regulatory changes that will improve the experience for all California drivers,” the Uber spokesperson wrote.
The new minimum age puts Uber on even ground with Lyft, which already required all US drivers to be 25 or older. The updated rules won’t apply to Uber Eats drivers, who can still deliver orders as young as 19.