Congress Members Send Letter to CEOs of Transportation Network Companies Asking about Safety Practices

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On May 21, 2018, nine members of Congress sent a letter to the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Uber, Lyft, Juno, Curb, and Via inquiring about the practices transportation network companies (TNCs) employ for ensuring passenger safety after a CNN investigation found 103 Uber drivers and 18 Lyft drivers had been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers over the past four years, CNN reports.

The letter – sent by U.S. Representatives Joseph Crowley (D-NY 14th District), Lois Frankel (D-FL 21st District), Frederica Wilson (D-FL 24th District), Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12th District), Eleanor Holmes (D-DC At-Large District), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH 2nd District), Katherine Clark (D-MA 5th District), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY 12th District), and Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI 1st District) – asked the following questions:

  • How does a ridesharing customer report an alleged incident of sexual violence or discrimination? What is the process for reviewing these allegations? In what instances does your company refer charges to law enforcement and cooperate with their investigations?
  • When onboarding a new driver, does your company include training on your sexual violence and discrimination prevention and response policy? How are you working to prevent these incidents and ensure you are hiring drivers who are committed to providing safe rides?
  • Do ridesharing companies maintain records of drivers who have been accused of sexual violence or discrimination? How does your company respond when an allegation is made? Do you make this information public to customers, who may hail a ride from one of these accused drivers?
  • Do you have a protocol in place to ensure other companies in the ridesharing industry are alerted to an allegation or resolution of sexual violence or discrimination against a driver who may be employed by multiple ridesharing companies?

The five TNC CEOs that the letter from Congress was sent to include Dara Khosrowshahi of Uber Technologies, Logan Green of Lyft, Inc., Daniel Ramot of Via Transportation, Pat Lashinsky of Curb (Ridecharge, Inc.), and Talmon Marco of Juno USA, LP. A complete copy of the letter asking about the safe practices of TNCs is at www.documentcloud.org/documents/4475190-Lawmakers-demand-answers-over-rideshare-drive.html.

In May 2018, ESR News reported that as many as “31 drivers have been convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape,” according to a CNN investigation of police reports and court records for 20 major U.S. cities that found there “is no publicly available data for the number of sexual assaults by Uber drivers or for drivers of other rideshare companies.”

CNN also contacted more than 20 police departments to obtain data on complaints involving sexual assault with Uber or Lyft drivers. Since most of these complaints were not included in the final tally of TNC drivers accused of crimes or named in civil lawsuits, “the numbers suggest that there may be many more overall incidents of sexual assault than the 103 cases found in the CNN investigation.”

In April 2018, Uber announced it would increase due diligence to strengthen its background checks. In a blog titled ‘Getting serious about safety,’ Uber CEO Khosrowshahi wrote that Uber has “conducted criminal and driving record screenings on millions of people” since the company started nearly nine years ago and will strengthen its background checks moving forward.

The growing scrutiny over background checks for TNC drivers from companies such as Uber and Lyft – which includes states passing laws or issuing fines to strengthen TNC background checks – is one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2018 selected by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), which is headquartered in the San Francisco, California area.

More Blogs about Transportation Network Companies (TNC)

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