By Kristina Rex

BOSTON (CBS) – Governor Charlie Baker is proposing stricter safety regulations for rideshare drivers, despite Massachusetts having some of the strictest regulations nationwide.

The new proposal also includes emission regulation and a push for more data sharing between companies like Uber and Lyft, and Massachusetts officials.

The proposed safety regulations have three facets:

1. Increased penalties for “account renting,” or allowing another person to use a driver’s account
2. Make it a criminal offense for drivers to exploit the personal information of a rider to stalk or harass them
3. Increased penalties for drivers who don’t display rideshare decals

Baker and other state officials say the proposal comes because of a major increase in rideshare usage, and “disturbing reports” across the nation of crimes or policy violations committed by rideshare drivers.

“The point here of the legislation is to say that you are providing somebody with a professional service. Period,” Baker said in a news conference. “And that should be the beginning and the end of your relationship with them.”

Massachusetts has approximately 210,000 rideshare drivers, and government officials say the overwhelming majority are professional and safe.

Riders who spoke to WBZ said in general, they feel safe in rideshare cars. “I’ve never had a negative experience in an Uber or a Lyft,” said Breanna DiOrio of Boston. Still, DiOrio said she agrees with a need for more safety regulations.

Both Uber and Lyft released statements saying that rider safety is a top priority. “We have concerns with the extensive data the Administration is asking for, as we believe it may put the privacy of our rider community at risk,” a Lyft spokesperson added. “We remain committed to working with Massachusetts leaders on common sense solutions to the Commonwealth’s transportation challenges.”

Kristina Rex

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