Uber to expand background checks for drivers 

Uber, which has been accused of having insufficient background checks, announced on its blog Wednesday that all new drivers in the U.S. will now be required to undergo county and federal checks.

Existing drivers for the mobile app-based ride service who have not yet cleared the additional checks will also be subject.

Prior to the new rule, the San Francisco-based company accepted background checks that local and state jurisdictions often perform as part of the commercial licensing process for UberBLACK, UberTaxi, UberSUV and UberLUX. UberX drivers were screened by the background check provider Hirease, using the Multi-State Criminal Database.

In the blog, Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian explained the company’s rationale for expanding its background check efforts: “While many counties regularly provide their records to state authorities (who in turn make them available to the Multi-State Criminal Database), some counties do not participate in this reporting the way we and our users expect they should. Similarly, a check relying on the Multi-State Criminal Database may miss records that only exist in the federal database. In our experience, records appearing in one database but not showing up in another is a rare occurrence, but we consider this situation unacceptable all the same.”

Uber came under fire locally last month when 57-year-old Syed Muzzafar, who said he was driving for Uber awaiting a fare, fatally struck 6-year-old Sophia Liu in the Tenderloin. A wrongful death complaint filed on Jan. 27 accuses Uber of negligent hiring.

“Safety of riders and drivers is of paramount importance at Uber, closely followed by transparency and accountability,” the blog post stated. “We’ll continue communicating with riders and drivers about our screening processes and are committed to maintaining industry-leading policies.”

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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