Uber and Lyft both have deactivation policies, but sometimes (if or when you’re deactivated), the reason can seem very arbitrary. Today, RSG contributor Jay Cradeur tries to de-mystify the reasons why drivers can be deactivated and recommendations for avoiding deactivation.

    In order to remain an active rideshare driver, you need to adhere to Uber and Lyft’s deactivation policy guidelines. For the most part, the do’s and don’t’s listed below will keep you from being deactivated… unless there is a problem with the Uber background check system. Lately, Uber has been in the news for deactivating drivers for no apparent reason, which is what happened to me late last year.

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    However, some drivers are deactivated for very legitimate reasons.  This article will present the basic Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to driving and maintaining an active driver status.

    Editor’s Note: Uber and Lyft have their own deactivation policies and Terms of Service, but there is still clearly a lot unwritten. Jay has given over 14,000 rides over the last few years, so these are the recommendations he’s learned over the years – plus a few common-sense things to do or not do.

    Here are the Must Do’s – To Stay Active on the Platforms

    Treat Your Passengers With Respect

    Give a friendly greeting.  Gauge your passengers.  Some want to talk.  Others want to be left alone.  Treat them as you would want to be treated, with compassion and respect.

    Give Your Passenger Personal Space

    Most passengers will sit in the back seat.  Some will sit in the front.  Be cognizant of your spatial distance to your passengers.  Allow them to feel comfortable and safe in your car.

    Keep Your Star Rating Above a 4.6

    I looked on the Internet for any specific guidelines regarding unacceptable star ratings.  A rating of 4.6 seems to be the lowest you can go before you get a warning or deactivation.

    If you are getting close to a 4.6, you need to ask yourself why your rating is so low.  Most passengers give a 5 unless you do something upsetting.  Don’t be rude or obnoxious.  Pick up and drop off your passengers on time.  The number one complaint from passengers is a bad route and lack of city knowledge.  All of this can be remedied by becoming proficient at using Waze or your GPS of choice for navigation.

    Related: What’s the Best Navigation App: Google Maps or Waze?

    Keep Your Cancellation Rate Below 10%

    If you accept a ride, take the ride.  Both companies monitor your cancellation rate.  They don’t want passengers expecting a pick up and then the driver does not show up.  1 out of 10 is acceptable.  Below that, and you may get a warning and possible deactivation.

    Drive Safely And Follow All Traffic Laws

    Slow and easy.  No rush.  Give your passenger a pleasant drive.

    One reason you could get deactivated is your car doesn’t qualify to drive for rideshare anymore. If you still want to drive rideshare but your car doesn’t qualify, let RideShare Rental get you back on the road with their rideshare-approved vehicles. Learn more about the rental program here.

    Maintain All Your Paperwork

    Last year, I forgot to update my vehicle inspection documents.  On the due date, I was immediately deactivated.  Keep your documents up to date.

    Provide Accurate Personal Information

    Don’t falsify any documents.  If you do and you are caught, you will be deactivated.

    Pick Up Passengers With Service Animals

    I love to get a passenger with a dog.  Dogs are great.  It is illegal to refuse a passenger who has a service dog.  Service animals are not only Seeing Eye dogs for the blind.  Many people keep a small dog with them for emotional support.  You must accept these passengers and their furry friends.

    Editor’s Note: Drivers do not have to transport emotional support animals per Uber and Lyft’s policies. However, we have heard from many drivers who have been deactivated by Uber and Lyft for refusing emotional support animals because the passengers complained. If you refuse an emotional support animal, we highly recommend you purchase a dash cam in case a rider complains that you wouldn’t take their “service animal.”

    Related: Here’s What to Know About Picking Up Service Animals

    New for 2020: Deactivated Due to ‘Improper’ Mask Wearing

    Unfortunately, a new way to be deactivated on Uber and Lyft is to be accused of not wearing a mask (at all or improperly) by a passenger. This happened to one driver who reached out to us, Donny from Los Angeles, who even had proof he was wearing a surgical/medical mask while driving!

    Other than having a dash camera and photographic evidence to prove you were wearing a mask, we do have additional tips to avoid deactivation for not wearing a mask (if accused by a passenger – if you’re truly not wearing a mask, you need to be wearing one according to Uber and Lyft’s requirements).

    There are several reasons why a passenger might report a driver is not wearing a mask, and not just out of retaliation for other reasons. The reasons listed below are all mask-related and might warrant a “no mask” claim:

    1. The driver did not have a mask on when they pulled up to the pickup location
    2. During the ride, the mask may have slipped off the driver’s nose
    3. The driver removed the mask in order to take a sip of water throughout the ride
    4. The mask is not covering their mouth and nose
    5. The driver is actually not wearing a mask at all
    6. The driver is wearing a mask to start the ride, but takes it off and says they don’t believe in wearing masks
    7. Driver had to remove mask to blow their nose—this could be seen as a health violation

    In most of these cases, wearing a properly fitting mask (take a look at our in-depth mask review guide video below) will go a long way to making sure no passenger can accuse you of not wearing a mask.


    Additionally, you may want to invest in a partition or, at the very least, an air purification system for your car. Not sure which one to get? Check out our write up of the PuraShield Mini air purifier.

    These Things Will Definitely Get You Deactivated

    Do Not Drive A Child Who Is Unaccompanied By An Adult

    In Lyft’s Terms of Service, you cannot give a ride to a child 17 years old or younger unless they are accompanied by an adult. You can click here to read their policy.

    Related: What Should You Do If You Get a Request to Pick Up a Minor?

    With Uber, it can be a little tricky. Uber states,

    “In most cities, a rider must be at least 18 years of age to have an Uber account and request rides. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by someone 18 years of age or older on any ride.

    As a driver-partner in a city that doesn’t allow minors to ride, you should decline the ride request if you believe the person requesting the ride is under 18.”

    You can read more on Uber’s statement here.

    This is all pretty interesting, because for a while Uber did have the Uber Teen program in a few cities. That seems to have gone away for now. Uber now has Uber Family, but according to Uber’s policy, family account holders also have to be age 18 to request a ride.

    All of this to say: you can decline and should according to Uber and Lyft’s policies decline a ride for a minor… but you can also possibly expect someone to complain about you for doing so.

    Related: You Should Probably Get a Dashcam 

    Do Not Engage In Sexual Talk Or Sexual Activity With A Passenger.  

    I have a firm “no sex with passengers” rule. While not spelled out by Uber or Lyft, it’s advisable to have the same rule yourself.  Do not have sex with a passenger.  Do not come on to a passenger.  Do not flirt.

    One year ago, I received a warning because one passenger (UberPOOL ride) insisted on talking about his sexual conquest the night before and a female passenger felt uncomfortable.  Avoid and defuse any and all conversations about sex.  While it is not policy, I also recommend avoiding any talk about politics and religion.

    Do Not Attempt To Contact Any Passengers After The Ride Is Over

    While you might make a meaningful connection during a ride, especially if you drive at night, leave it there.  Pursuing a passenger for any type of a relationship after the ride is over will get you deactivated.

    Do Not Text While Driving

    In most states, texting while driving is illegal and can earn you an expensive citation.  Only use your phone to manage your rides.  Stay off of all social media, email, and texting apps.

    Related: Keep Your Hands on the Wheel Even While Accepting/Declining Rides with Mystro

    Do Not Drink Or Do Any Drugs While Driving

    I have had many passengers tell me they have been in the car of drivers who smelled like marijuana.  Save it for after your shift.

    And if you get any passengers who reek of marijuana or alcohol, make sure to drive around and air out the windows after they’re gone.  Do this for at least 5-10 minutes before picking up your next passenger as smells can linger and even though you may not smell it anymore, it may still be there.

    Do Not Drive When Drowsy Or Tired

    As drivers, we must be responsible for our attentiveness while on the road.  If you are tired, stop your shift and take a nap.

    Do Not Use Inappropriate And Abusive Language Or Gestures. 

    I had one passenger swear at me.  If this happens to you, do not swear back.  Control your emotions and wish them a good day.  Maintain the temperament of a monk.

    Do Not Break Any Laws While Driving.

    Don’t rob a bank.  Don’t blow through red lights.  Don’t transport drugs.  Don’t do anything that is illegal.

    Do Not Allow Any Laws To Be Broken By Passengers During A Ride

    If the passenger asks you if he or she can fire up a spliff, the answer must be “No.”  No drugs in the car.

    Related: How to Handle Passengers Who Make You Feel Unsafe

    Do Not Carry Any Firearms.  

    Keep the Glock at home. Yes, Uber prohibits firearms in your vehicle. Yes, I know some states allowed for concealed carry. It’s still against Uber’s rules though so you’ll have to decide if you want to get deactivated from Uber for doing so.

    Do Not Accepting Illegal Street Hails

    We are not a taxi service.  Only accept Uber and Lyft rides using the app.

    Do Not Solicit Cash Payments For Rides

    Once a passenger accidentally cancelled the ride when he got in the car.  I then got another ping within seconds from another passenger.  The passenger offered to pay me cash to drive him to his destination.  We cannot do this.  The passenger had to get out of the car and request a new ride from a different driver.

    Do Not Commit Fraud

    Do not try to game the system.  Do not try to steal from other drivers.  There was a scam going around last year in which drivers were called in an effort to gain access to their bank account information.  I almost fell for it.  Don’t be a thief or a fraud.

    Related: More Uber Scams and Hacks to Watch Out For

    Do Not Discriminate

    Do not avoid any neighborhoods based on racial or socio economic profile.  Do not avoid picking up anyone based on a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex, marital status, gender identity, or age.

    Related: What Should I Do About a Passenger Destination That Makes Me Feel Unsafe?

    A Few More Considerations

    It is recommended that you keep your acceptance rate above 90%.  This means that when you get a ping, you accept the ping 9 out of 10 times.  You will not be deactivated for not accepting rides.

    However, if you make it a habit, the company may put you on a “time out” and turn off your app for a period of time, usually a few minutes.  If you don’t want to accept any rides, it is recommended that you go offline until you are ready to accept rides.

    What to Do If You Are Deactivated

    If you are deactivated, the first thing you want to do is find out why you were deactivated.  Some activities lead to permanent deactivation, while others can be remedied.

    Committing a crime while driving for Uber or Lyft will get you deactivated permanently.  A low rating can be remedied with some training and a commitment to improving your skill set.  Contact the company that deactivated you and ask for your options.  Then you can choose if you want to keep driving or move on to another line of work.

    Editors Note: It’s important to also make sure you are signed up to drive with another service like Caviar. That way you have a strong contingency plan if the worst happens.

    These Do’s and Dont’s all seem very reasonable.  There is no need to be deactivated if you behave as a professional and follow the rules.  If you keep in mind that all the passenger wants is a safe, pleasant, comfortable and direct ride to their destination, then you will be A-OK.  Be safe out there.

    Drivers, do you have any additional insight on Uber and Lyft’s deactivation policies? Let us know in the comments.

    -Jay @ RSG

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    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur

    Jay Cradeur, a graduate of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, is a full-time driver with over 26,000 rides. Jay has a driver-focused podcast: Rideshare Dojo with Jay Cradeur. When Jay isn’t writing articles or making videos, he is traveling the world. You can see what Jay is up to at