Why rideshare companies might want to embrace in-depth driver background check

07 April, 2017, 08:26 | Author: Leticia Walters
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Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, the bill (SB 340) would require Uber and Lyft to carry $100,000 of insurance for bodily injury or death and $25,000 for property damage while a driver is logged onto their app but hasn't secured a passenger.

The most common reason for rejecting drivers was a previous suspended license.

The new system launched in January, and the Globe reports it rejected "many drivers" who passed Uber and Lyft's own reviews.

The state listed "violent crimes" as the reason for denial on 958 applications; sex abuse and exploitation on 352 applications; and operating under the influence on 152 applications.

"Under Massachusetts law, Lyft's commercial background check provider, like all consumer reporting agencies, is legally prevented from looking back further than seven years into driver applicants' histories". The round brings in over $500 million in new funding, and sets the valuation for the ride hailing company at $6.9 billion (pre-money), which is well north of their $4.5 billion (again, pre-money) valuation from their previous funding round in January of past year. About 8,200 failed the checks, which are required under a 2016 state law officials have called the most stringent in the country. They also include people who had a "continuance without a finding" on their record.

One of Griffith's clients is a pediatric nurse at a Boston hospital who drives for ride-hailing companies on the side.

In August, an Uber driver was charged with raping a 16-year-old girl in Everett.

Lyft says the seven-year cap is why it did not find the same drivers in its own 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", Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement. That's roughly 11 percent of the 70,789 drivers working for the likes of Lyft and Uber in MA, according to The Boston Globe. "We have a chance to fix the current system in the rules process so that people who deserve to work are not denied the opportunity". Public hearings are scheduled for May.

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