Uber Driver with Criminal Past Allegedly Hit Passenger

Written By Thomas Ahearn

ESR News Blogs - Criminal RecordsA driver with car service company Uber who passed a background check even though he had a criminal record is accused of physically assaulting his passenger and faces criminal charges, according to an article on Forbes.com available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenhuet/2014/06/03/uber-driver-with-felony-conviction-charged-with-battery-for-allegedly-hitting-passenger/.

Forbes reports that Daveea Whitmire, 28, of San Francisco, was charged with two misdemeanor battery counts. In November 2014, Whitmire picked up a passenger in San Francisco and allegedly assaulted him after the two began to argue in the car. Although police did not arrest Whitmire at the time of the incident, he was deactivated from the Uber system in December 2014, Forbes reports.

The ‘Uber Background Checks’ policy page states all driver partners “go through a rigorous background check that leads the industry.” Part of the criteria for drivers to pass the screening is “No convictions for violent crimes, sexual offenses, or felonies in the past 7 years” and “No drug or DUI charges in the past 7 years.” The Uber Background Checks policy page is available at http://blog.uber.com/driverscreening.

However, as first reported by PandoDaily, Whitmire has a 2009 felony conviction for selling marijuana and a 2012 felony charge for selling cocaine that should have caused him to fail the Uber background check. The report from PandoDaily is available at http://pando.com/2014/01/06/exclusive-uber-driver-accused-of-assault-passed-zero-tolerance-background-check-despite-criminal-history/.

Forbes reports an Uber spokesman stated the driver had “a clean background check” from the screening firm used by Uber. While Uber was not charged in the complaint, Forbes reports “prosecutors hope to make this case an example of a need for stronger safety regulations among car service apps” and “show that companies like Uber create opportunity for incidents such like this without also holding up the safety end.”

As reported by ESR News in February 2014, Uber expanded the company’s background check process after a driver presented as an example for a Chicago Tribune profile was later found to have a 2010 felony conviction for residential burglary. The blog is available at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/2014/02/25/ride-sharing-firm-expands-criminal-background-checks-gaps-found/.

Background checks help ensure a safe workplace for employers, employees, and the public. To learn more about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a nationwide background check firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at http://www.esrcheck.com, call Toll Free 888.999.4474, or email sales@esrcheck.com.