Uber and Lyft have been described as two of the most lucrative and prominent ride hailing companies to exists in the United States over recent years. The ease of booking a ride to your destination with one touch of your Smartphone, coupled with competitive costs that has resulted in a decline of taxi use, has allowed these companies to profit tremendously and their popularity to soar. The issue of public safety has begun to create a nationwide buzz and those asserting the dismay are concerned that the screening process utilized for drivers is less than adequate to say the least. Political leaders suggest that the screening process of the tens of thousands of drivers that are employed by Uber and Lyft, have simply “slipped through the cracks.”
Lyft declares that their screening process usually varies depending upon the individual, but the average processing time is about 10 to 14 days. The screening process consists of a driving record check, criminal history background check, and employment history verification. Lyft has a unique process because they have implemented a “Mentoring” program that allows new drivers to engage in an apprentice-like experience before actually accepting ride appointments. Before participating in the program, about one hour prior to meeting your mentor, your driving record is entered into a system that will automatically let the company whether you are qualified to drive or not. Lyft prides themselves in providing a quick turnaround for the hiring process and some applicants have even been able to accept appointments within two days! Lyft urges applicants to contact them if they have not heard a response in 3 to 4 weeks.
Uber suggests that their employee screening process is surefire due to the use of social security verification. With this information, Uber is able to determine all addresses associated with the social security number, which as a result allows Uber to compare and search criminal records that exists within the past seven years. Uber gains access to the National Sex Offender Registry and databases that flag terrorists. Uber suggests that they are detailed and thorough in their investigation, so much so, that if criminal activity is flagged the record is pulled in person or via the internet.
There is a downside to this hurried process of screening drivers, many slip through the cracks and Uber/Lyft end up hiring violent ex-convicts who have a squeaky clean driving record. In California, Uber and Lyft’s biggest opponent, cab companies, have even taken steps to lobby to the legislature by forwarding several records that show evidence of employees with second-degree murder and assault charges and even an employee who is registered as a sex offender. As a result of these newfound discoveries, state legislators are pushing for fingerprinting. Fingerprinting would allow the net to be casted further and those who have been in trouble with the law, in any form or fashion, will be screened out. Unlike conventional background checks, fingerprint analysis allows access to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database.
As stated previously, the top competitor besides one another would be various taxi cab companies. Public utility companies who regulate limousine drivers, as well as, taxi services do not require fingerprinting for Uber and Lyft due to the employee/ employer versus independent contractor relationship. Live Scan, a costly background check service, provides fingerprinting and usually costs $25.00 to $50.00 per record check. Accurate and Checkr are background service providers utilized by Uber and Lyft that usually amounts from $12.00 to $17.00 per record check. One may reasonably infer that Uber and Lyft are able to cut costs all around, from the use of the employee’s vehicle, to the booking process, and even with an aspect that is so important, that background check! It has been reported that a driver for Uber was found to be convicted of second degree murder, but however due to the length of time he spent post-incarceration, he was able to acquire a position with no problem. The driver changed the spelling of his name, was hired, and by the time his past conviction was discovered, he had given over 1,000 rides in the span of seven months.
If you have any further concerns or inquiries regarding the liability of a ride-hailing company or you would like to access a potential claim, Contact the Angell Law Firm today. We have competent attorneys on our side that will identify your best interest and help you navigate the legal process!