The state reviewed the criminal and driving records of nearly 71,000 drivers who had already passed reviews by the companies, and rejected 8,206 — about 11 percent.
Hundreds were disqualified for having serious crimes on their record, including violent or sexual offenses, and others for driving-related offenses, such as drunken driving or reckless driving, according to the state Department of Public Utilities.
The agency said it rejected 51 applications from sex offenders and 352 for incidents related to “Sex, Abuse, and Exploitation.”
Seems a tad concerning.
The state looks back seven years for violations such as reckless driving, license suspensions, and less serious violent crimes. But it looks back for unlimited periods at other offenses, such as sex crimes, more serious violent crimes, and drunken driving that results in serious injury or death.
Uber and Lyft each pointed out that they are limited by state law to checking just the last seven years of an applicant’s history, which they said explains why so many drivers they had passed flunked the government’s more thorough review. Lyft said only “a small percentage of our drivers failed,” while Uber added that the unlimited reach of the government’s background checks is unfair to drivers who are trying to overcome past troubles.
Curious that the results were grouped together. I'd be interested in knowing if one company was being more dramatically impacted by the new regulations.
Pauline Quirion, an attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services who represents workers with criminal backgrounds trying to reenter the workforce, said her office has received numerous inquiries from drivers who were disqualified for minor, long-ago offenses.
By not considering the circumstances of each individual’s conviction, Quirion argued, the state could be exposing itself to discrimination lawsuits, because longstanding racial inequities in the criminal justice system mean nonwhite workers are more likely to have records.
“What about somebody who abused drugs, but now they’ve been sober for 20 years? Or a domestic violence victim who has a conviction for throwing a can at her abuser?” Quirion wondered. “Would anyone be worried about her driving an Uber?”
It does seem strange that a drug offense would carry weight decades after the arrest. Have taxi drivers been held to such stringent standards?
“You can’t be too safe,” he added, saying that he still wants drivers to undergo a fingerprint-based background check, like those his department imposed on cab drivers, beginning in February 2016.
I've always felt it's weird how our society handles finger printing its citizens. Having worked with children in a school I have had my finger prints recorded myself. In this particular situation, where the cars are so heavily monitored by GPS software, I'm a little unclear how finger prints would aid in any investigation. Obviously the drivers finger prints would be found all over the car, how would that be helpful?