Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
Figures released by Massachusetts officials show more than ten percent of drivers failed comprehensive background checks required under a state law for ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, with 8,200 drivers failing and more than 62,000 drivers passing the checks, according to an article on Boston.com.
Boston.com reports more than 300 applicants to be drivers for Uber and Lyft had felony convictions while 51 were registered sex offenders. The largest number failed the background checks due to a suspended license, being licensed to drive for less than three years, or multiple serious driving offenses.
Boston.com reports Uber and Lyft had to perform multi-state criminal and driving background checks and a search of a national sex offender website. Drivers passing those steps then had to undergo a state Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check that included a lifetime look-back for convictions.
Boston.com reports Governor Charlie Baker said that Massachusetts has set a national standard for driver background checks: “Public safety is a top priority for this administration and we are pleased to have completed this first round of in-depth background checks a year ahead of schedule,” he said.
Uber issued a statement that faulted the background check process as being too strict and wide-ranging: “Thousands of people in Massachusetts have lost access to economic opportunities as a result of a screening that includes an unfair and unjust indefinite lookback period,” Boston.com reports.
In November 2016, ESR News reported that drivers for Transportation Network Companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft had entered into voluntary agreements with Massachusetts to ensure the immediate implementation of the most stringent background checks for TNC drivers of any state in the nation.
The agreements between the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and Uber and Lyft required the companies to begin background checks for all TNC drivers operating in Massachusetts by January 6, 2017, and guaranteed every TNC driver passed the state background check by April 3, 2017.
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