A federal judge has ruled California taxicab companies can sue competitor Uber over advertising statements that it offers the safest rides on the road. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that taxicab companies accused the ride-hailing company of false advertising for stating in ads and online postings that its background checks were the most thorough and its services the safest in the business. The statements implied, and sometimes explicitly declared, that conventional taxis were less safe.

Taxi companies say their review of prospective drivers is far more thorough. They say they use fingerprint checks and government criminal records that Uber does not employ and require their drivers to take a driver safety course and a written exam.

US District Judge Jon Tigar of San Francisco rejected Uber's attempt to dismiss the suit Friday and said much of it could proceed. Uber was sued in March. Part of the issue was the idea that the $1 "safe ride" fee is not being used to actually offer a safe ride, but to inflate profits. The lawsuit says Uber did not follow the Lanham Act and California's False Advertising Law and Unfair Competition Law.

The relationships between Uber and taxi cab companies are complicated and differ from city to city. In Berlin, for example, local taxis have Uber ads on the sides (pictured above) and Uber says it is "working with" the cab companies there. More commonly, there are frictions, as in Mexico City and Paris.

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The AP contributed to this report.


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