Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
The two largest Transportation Network Companies (TNC) in Massachusetts – Uber and Lyft – have entered into voluntary agreements to ensure the immediate implementation of the most stringent background checks for TNC drivers of any state in the nation, according to a press release from the office of Governor Charlie Baker.
“The safety and security of the riding public is our top priority, and I am pleased this agreement will set a national standard for the most comprehensive state background checks for TNC drivers in the country,” Governor Baker stated in the press release, adding that the background checks would include both criminal and driving records.
The agreements between the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and Uber and Lyft require the companies to begin background checks for all TNC drivers operating in the Commonwealth by January 6, 2017, and guarantees every TNC driver in the Commonwealth will have passed the state background check by April 3, 2017.
Under the agreements, background checks of TNC drivers will be conducted by the DPU’s new Transportation Network Company Division. Drivers employed by Uber and Lyft will undergo a full state Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) background check, including confirmation that the driver is not a registered sex offender.
In addition, drivers employed by Uber and Lyft will be subjected to bi-annual national commercial background checks conducted by the TNC companies. Drivers who do not meet the suitability standards set forth in the agreements will not be permitted to operate in Massachusetts, according to the press release.
The background checks will begin a year ahead of schedule to highlight the administration’s commitment to prioritizing the safety of consumers utilizing transportation network services. The press release can be found at www.mass.gov/governor/press-office/press-releases/fy2017/agreement-reached-with-tncs-on-background-checks.html.
In August of 2016, ESR News reported that Governor Baker signed bipartisan legislation – Bill H.4570 – An Act regulating transportation network companies – to regulate TNC drivers with the strongest state background checks in the nation. The full text of H.4570 is available at https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H4570.
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