NYC had originally banned advertising in rideshare vehicles. In 2015, that ordinance was challenged in federal court. In 2018, the federal district court held NYC’s ban to be an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment. Rideshare drivers quickly started reaping the benefits. Some drivers earn hundreds of dollars each month – in addition to their Uber/Lyft fares – by simply installing a screen, sign or rooftop display.
In July 2019, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court and reinstated NYC’s prohibition on rideshare advertisements. With the stroke of pen, the appellate court pulled the lifelines out of drivers’ cars.
To us at LegalRideshare, it doesn't make sense and hits drivers the hardest. Why pull money out of drivers' pockets when the industry is already squeezing them as tight as they can? This was at least an option for supplemental income. If NYC wanted regulations, how about imposing limits on screen size, brightness, or volume? What about a required on/off button? Perhaps roof top ads are allowed, but in-car screens are not. There are clearly less restrictive options than a complete prohibition on commercial speech.
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