Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
Of the 1,400 drivers for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft who felt unfairly rejected after failing mandated background checks in Massachusetts and decided to appeal the license ban, 444 have successfully overturned the decision, according to a report on Boston.com.
However, there are 18 “disqualifying” violations – from assault or Operating Under the Influence (OUI) to a driver’s license suspension or recent and repeated traffic violations – that cannot be overturned on appeal. The Boston Globe published statistics on failed background checks here.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker stood by the results of background checks on TNC drivers in an interview on WGBH’s Boston Public Radio and dismissed criticism claiming drivers were banned for minor infractions and had limited recourse for appeals, which he said were processed in seven to 10 days.
Massachusetts is the first state in the country to implement comprehensive background checks for TNC drivers. Uber has criticized the state’s Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) search with an unlimited look-back period as “unfair and unjust,” Boston.com reports.
As reported earlier by ESR News earlier in April 2017, more than 10 percent of ride-hailing drivers failed comprehensive background checks required under Massachusetts state law for TNCs such as Uber and Lyft, with 8,200 drivers failing and more than 62,000 drivers passing the background checks.
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.
TNCs such as 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 CORI check that included a lifetime look-back for serious convictions.
Uber issued a statement that faulted the background checks 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 Uber and Lyft had entered into voluntary agreements with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to ensure the implementation of the most stringent background checks for TNC drivers of any state in the nation.
The agreements between the 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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