Washington to enhance survivor benefits for families of rideshare drivers

New legislation expected to hit Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk in the coming weeks is set to enhance survivor benefits for the families of rideshare drivers.

Under current state law, if a rideshare driver is killed while on the job but is in between rides, their family does not qualify for those benefits. Rep. Liz Berry says thanks to HB 2382, that all is expected to change.

“It closes a current loophole in state law to make these families whole once they suffer immeasurable loss of having their loved one killed on the job,” Rep. Berry said.

She says now if a rideshare driver is killed on the job period, their families will receive full benefits regardless if a passenger is in the car or the driver is waiting for another trip.

“I think that it’s the least we can do to require that these companies pay for these benefits for the families should they be killed on the job,” Rep. Berry said.

KIRO 7 caught up with rideshare drivers about the legislation. Essam Elmubarak has been a rideshare driver for 14 years and says all drivers can face danger at anytime.

“And sometimes, you know, he just got shot for no reason,” Elmubarak said.

He says this legislation gives the families of rideshare drivers the assurance that finances won’t be a problem in the midst of tragedy.

“After this bill passed, I think they are going to be in a better situation. No doubt,” Elmubarak said.

KIRO7 asked Rep. Berry if this new legislation would apply to the family of rideshare driver Abdikadir Gedi Shariff, the rideshare driver shot and killed in Edmonds in January. She says sadly, it would not apply to them, but she believes this bill will assure no other family will go through such financial hardships during a tragedy.

“And because of what happened to your beloved family member, we are going to make sure that other families don’t suffer the same economic damage,” Rep. Berry said.

This bill does not include taxi drivers in the state. Representative Berry says HB 2382 should head to Gov. Inslee’s desk within the next few weeks.