A brief overview of ‘beeping’ and its liability risks

A brief  overview of ‘beeping’ and its liability risks

Michael Bragg

To Whom It May Concern:

The common practice of transporting intoxicated students to and from different locations for a fee is termed “beeping.” Many students have taken advantage of this community-wide service that other students have provided in order to travel responsibly.

But students face a serious risk when offering students a ride for a fee.

The personal automobile policy outlines a number of exclusions that limit coverage for policyholders; one of these exclusions addresses public livery and conveyance. Conveyance is defined as “a vehicle hired out and used indiscriminately in conveying the public or objects without limitation or without being governed by special terms.”

The exclusion is in place to give carriers the legal right to deny coverage when the vehicle is hired out to the general public for a fee. Students who offer transportation services to other students for a fee may be considered a public conveyance; by definition, a carrier could argue that this practice falls under the public livery and conveyance policy exclusion and deny coverage for any bodily injury, property, and liability damages arising out of an automobile accident.

This applies whether or not the driver charging the fee is determined to be at fault.

While it may be difficult for an insurance carrier to prove the student was charging a fee, the loss to students and their parents – because many students are still on their parents’ policy – could be astronomical. In our litigious society, general and special damages can range from the thousands to millions of dollars—insurance coverage is absolutely critical in any situation, whether the loss is small or large.

The Student Government Association is hosting the Appalachian Beeper Forum on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Rough Ridge, Plemmons Student Union, to bring awareness to the risks associated with this practice.

The Student Government Association is not condoning the practice or making the recommendation that it immediately cease. This system plays an important role in providing safe transportation for students.

But we have a responsibility to inform students of the risks in the event of an accident. We invite students to learn more about at Tuesday’s event.

Zachary Yllanes
Director of Campus Outreach, Student Government Association