2019Transportation Network Companies

Uber Driver Background Checks Under Scrutiny After Driver Arrested by Police in Middle of Ride

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Uber driver background checks are under scrutiny after a “terrifying ride” experienced by a North Carolina woman in December 2018 where her Uber driver was arrested mid-ride by Police and charged with impersonating an officer, according to a report from WTVD-TV ABC Channel 11 in Raleigh-Durham, NC.

Uber Driver Background Checks

WTVD-TV reported passenger Carla Chirico said Police told her she “was very lucky to make it out alive” since her Uber driver, Devin Stenulis, had a gun in his car when he was arrested. Stenulis, who used an alias on the Uber app and went by the name “Spyke,” had a near-perfect rating as an Uber driver.

However, WTVD-TV also reported that Stenulis had a string of criminal charges in his past. Besides the most recent charge, Stenulis was arrested and charged with impersonating an officer in May 2017 and also arrested in connection with a shooting incident while working as a bail bondsman in July 2018.

Uber, a popular transportation network company (TNC) with an estimated 100 million worldwide users, said “the screening process is based off North Carolina regulation, which means only convictions go on a background check,” meaning pending charges like Stenulis had would not show up, WTVD-TV reported.

A CNN investigation in April 2018 found at least 103 drivers working for Uber in the U.S. “have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years” and as many as “31 drivers have been convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape.”

That same month, Uber promised to strengthen its background checks. In a blog titled ‘Getting serious about safety,’ Uber Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dara Khosrowshahi wrote Uber “conducted criminal and driving record screenings on millions of people” and would run annual driver background checks.

Uber’s policy excludes drivers with convictions of serious crimes or major driving offenses. However, Uber and chief rival Lyft “have approved thousands of people who should have been disqualified because of criminal records,” according to a follow up investigation by CNN in June 2018.

In July 2018, Uber began performing continuous background checks on some drivers. “Ultimately what we’re looking for… is a way to get the same kind of info as in a background check, but get it in a real-time manner,” Uber Vice President of Safety and Insurance Gus Fuldner told new media company Axios.

The growing scrutiny of background checks used by “gig economy” employers such as Uber to examine the value of these background checks was chosen by global background check provider Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) as one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2019.

ESR Offers Screening for Gig Economy Workers

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – offers screening for gig economy workers that fall outside of the traditional employer-employee relationship. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Industry-Specific-Solutions/On-Demand/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

© 2019 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.


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