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June 3, 2015
Virginia's new Transportation Network Company law goes into effect on July 1
Expect to see TNC registration decals as early as June 4

RICHMOND - Virginia law, effective July 1, 2015, regulates transportation network companies, more commonly called TNCs.

These companies – Uber and Lyft – use a smart phone app to match passengers with nearby drivers through GPS technology. TNC drivers, called partners, operate their personal vehicles. Ride arrangement and payment is all done through the app. Street hails are prohibited.

Although the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles oversees TNC regulations, DMV special agents AND local and state law enforcement share the duty of enforcing the new law.

Per the Code of Virginia, Title 46.2, Chapter 20, any person who knowingly and willfully violates any TNC regulation is guilty of a misdemeanor and could be subject to fines of up to $5,000 per violation and civil penalties of up to $1,000 per violation.

PowerPoint Presentation About New TNC Licensing & Regulation (PDF)

There are several things to look for to make sure a TNC partner is operating in compliance with the new law.

TNC Vehicles
For starters, TNC vehicles must display TNC registration decals and trade dress appropriately at all times the vehicle is in TNC operation, i.e., when the app is on. Vehicles with Virginia license plates will display black and gold TNC decals on their license plates, in place of standard year registration decals. Out-of-state vehicles will display a black and gold TNC decal on the outside of the upper left corner of the rear window.

Vehicles may be used to provide TNC services without TNC registration decals for 30 days from the date the vehicle is registered with DMV for TNC use. TNC registration status, including the 30-day temporary status, can be validated through the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN).

The trade dress must be that of a licensed TNC operator in Virginia. A list of approved TNCs can be found at  TNC-issued trade dress can be placed anywhere on the vehicle as long as it is visible in accordance with state law, Va. Code 46.2-2099.50(c).

In addition, the vehicle used to provide TNC services:

  • Must be a personal vehicle.
  • Must have and retain evidence of a valid Virginia safety inspection annually, even if the vehicle is registered in another state.
  • Cannot seat more than eight people, including the driver.
  • Must be lawfully titled and registered in Virginia or another state.
  • May not have been issued a certificate of title, either in Virginia or another state, branding the vehicle as salvage, non-repairable, rebuilt or any equivalent classification.
  • Must be covered under a TNC insurance policy meeting the requirements of Va. Code 46.2-2099.51 or 46.2-2099.52, as applicable.

When reporting a crash involving a TNC vehicle, please note the following in the “Crash Description” section on the Virginia State Crash Report (FR300): the company for which the partner is operating and the name of the TNC insurance provider and the policy number.  Officers should continue to report the partner’s personal insurance information in the “Vehicle” section of the form.

TNC Drivers (Partners)
TNC drivers, called partners, must be licensed drivers at least 21 years of age. The driver can be licensed in another state, as long as the vehicle is registered as a TNC partner vehicle in Virginia and has a valid Virginia safety inspection.

The partner must carry a valid driver’s license, TNC registration, a TNC-issued identification credential and insurance coverage information. The TNC-issued ID credential and insurance coverage information can be made available through the app.

Partners may not accept street hails, solicit ride requests or accept any other ride request that has not been prearranged by the app. They also can’t operate on airport property unless authorized by the airport operator.

In addition, partners:

  • May not discriminate against matched passengers based on their pick-up or drop-off locations and must comply with all applicable laws relating to nondiscrimination and the accommodation of service animals.
  • Must submit to a background check performed by the TNC for which he drives and notify the TNC of any changes to his criminal or driving record.
  • Must not use a vehicle for TNC services that has not been registered for TNC use.
  • May not loan or lease a TNC-registered license plate or trade dress to a non-TNC partner, allow a non-partner to use a TNC-registered vehicle to offer TNC services, or allow a TNC partner to use a TNC-registered vehicle unless that partner has been affiliated with the vehicle by a TNC.

If your agency needs assistance, please contact:
DMV Law Enforcement Division
Phone: (804) 367-1678 or (804) 367-1997

Consumer complaints should be referred to:
DMV Motor Carrier Services
Phone: (804) 249-5130