§ 40-5-39. Requirements for operation of a motor vehicle for hire; for-hire license endorsements and eligibility; term; background checks.

CODE OF GEORGIA

Title 40. MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC

Chapter 5. DRIVERS' LICENSES

Article 2. ISSUANCE, EXPIRATION, AND RENEWAL OF LICENSES

Current through 2019-2020 Chapter 609

§ 40-5-39. Requirements for operation of a motor vehicle for hire; for-hire license endorsements and eligibility; term; background checks

(a) No person shall operate a motor vehicle for hire in this state unless such person:
(1) Has a for-hire license endorsement pursuant to this Code section and has liability insurance coverage in the amounts required by law for the class of motor vehicle being operated for hire and the requirements for limousine carriers, ride share networks and drivers, and taxi services, as applicable; or
(2) Has a private background check certification pursuant to this Code section and has liability insurance coverage in the amounts required by law for the class of motor vehicle being operated for hire and the requirements for limousine carriers, ride share networks and drivers, and taxi services, as applicable.

This shall include, but not be limited to, ride share drivers and persons operating motor vehicles for limousine carriers and taxicabs for taxi services.

(b) The department shall provide a for-hire license endorsement for any qualified person under this Code section. In order to be eligible for such endorsement, an applicant shall:
(1) Be at least 18 years of age;
(2) Possess a valid Georgia driver's license which is not limited as defined in Code Section 40-5-64 or 40-5-64.1 ;
(3) Not have been convicted, been on probation or parole, or served time on a sentence for a period of seven years previous to the date of application for any felony or any other crime of moral turpitude or a pattern of misdemeanors that evidences a disregard for the law unless he or she has received a pardon and can produce evidence of same. For the purposes of this paragraph, a plea of nolo contendere shall be considered to be a conviction, and a conviction for which a person has been free from custody and free from supervision for at least seven years shall not be considered a conviction unless the conviction is for a dangerous sexual offense which is contained in Code Section 42-1-12 or the criminal offense was committed against a victim who was a minor at the time of the offense;
(4) Submit at least one set of classifiable electronically recorded fingerprints to the department in accordance with the fingerprint system of identification established by the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The department shall transmit the fingerprints to the Georgia Crime Information Center, which shall submit the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a search of bureau records and an appropriate report and promptly conduct a search of state records based upon the fingerprints. After receiving the report from the Georgia Crime Information Center and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the department shall determine whether the applicant may be certified; and
(5) Be a United States citizen or, if not a citizen, present federal documentation verified by the United States Department of Homeland Security to be valid documentary evidence of lawful presence in the United States under federal immigration law.
(c) Such endorsement shall be valid for the same term as such person's driver's license, provided that each person seeking renewal of a driver's license with such endorsement shall submit to a review of his or her criminal history for verification of his or her continued eligibility for such endorsement prior to making application for such renewal using the same process set forth in subsection (b) of this Code section. If such person no longer satisfies the background requirements set forth herein, he or she shall not be eligible for the inclusion of such endorsement on his or her driver's license, and it shall be renewed without the endorsement.
(d) Every person who operates a motor vehicle for hire in this state shall have his or her Georgia driver's license with the prescribed for-hire license endorsement in his or her possession at all times while operating a motor vehicle for hire in this state or shall have his or her Georgia driver's license and a private background check certification pursuant to subsection (e) of this Code section in his or her possession. Such driver's license with a for-hire endorsement or such driver's license and private background check certification shall be presented to a law enforcement officer upon request by such officer.
(e)
(1) A person operating a motor vehicle for hire in this state may obtain a private background check in lieu of obtaining a for-hire endorsement. Such background check shall be conducted by the taxi service, limousine carrier, or ride share network service that employs such driver.
(2) The taxi service, limousine carrier, or ride share network service shall require such person to submit an application to the taxi service, limousine carrier, or ride share network service which includes, but is not limited to, information regarding such person's address, age, driver's license information and number, driving history, motor vehicle registration, automobile liability insurance, and other information necessary to complete a background check on such person.
(3) The taxi service, limousine carrier, or ride share network service shall conduct or cause to be conducted a local and national criminal background check on such person which shall include:
(A) A search of a multistate, multijurisdiction criminal records locator or similar nation-wide data base with validation or primary source search;
(B) A search of the national sex offender registry data base; and
(C) The obtaining and review of a driving history research report.
(4) The taxi service, limousine carrier, or ride share network service shall review the background check and issue a private background check certification to such person; provided, however, that no such certification shall be issued to a person whose background check discloses that such person:
(A) Has had more than three moving violations in the prior three-year period or has one major traffic violation, as such term is defined in Code Section 40-5-142, in the prior three-year period;
(B) Has been convicted within the past seven years of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or has been convicted at any time of fraud, a sexual offense, the use of a motor vehicle to commit a felony, a crime involving property damage, a crime involving theft, a crime involving an act of violence, or a crime involving an act of terror;
(C) Has a match on the national sex offender registry data base;
(D) Does not have a valid driver's license;
(E) If such person will be using such person's vehicle as the motor vehicle to be operated for hire, does not possess proof of registration for such vehicle;
(F) Does not possess proof of liability insurance coverage in such amounts as provided by law for the class of motor vehicle being operated for hire and the requirements for limousine carriers, ride share networks and drivers, and taxi services, as applicable; and
(G) Is not at least 18 years of age.
(5) Such private background check certification shall be issued in written form or in a form which may be displayed electronically on a smartphone. A digital identification properly issued pursuant to subsection (d) of Code Section 40-1-193 shall constitute sufficient certification of a private background check. Such private background check certification shall be valid for a period of five years from the date of its issuance.
(f) The department is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations as necessary to implement this Code section.
(g) Any person who violates the provisions of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Cite as OCGA § 40-5-39

History. Amended by 2016 Ga. Laws 573, §4, eff. 1/1/2017.

Amended by 2015 Ga. Laws 195, §6, eff. 7/1/2015.

Added by 2012 Ga. Laws 632, §I-3, eff. 7/1/2012.