How driver checks work: What Uber and Lyft do, what city would require


Checking out drivers

Uber and Lyft currently hire third-party companies to vet their potential drivers using name-based background checks. Here’s how that method compares to the fingerprint-based background checks that taxi drivers currently face, as well as the proposal coming before the Austin City Council that would create the same rules for all drivers-for-hire:

UBER AND LYFT

How the checks work: Both companies require applicants to provide a full name, date of birth, Social Security number, a copy of their driver’s license, vehicle registration, auto insurance and proof of a completed state vehicle inspection. Outside security companies search national, state and local databases for criminal and driving violations over the past seven years, and follow up with courthouse searches at the counties where the applicant lived in that period. Lyft includes an in-person interview to, among other things, match the person with the driver’s license picture.

Who gets disqualified: Applicants are out if they have convictions for any of the following offenses within the past seven years: alcohol- or drug-related driving infractions; fraud or theft; reckless driving; hit-and-run wrecks; violent crimes; sexual offenses; acts of terror; property damage crimes; fatal accidents; resisting or evading arrest; kidnapping, embezzlement or other felonies. Applicants are also rejected if their record includes driving with a suspended, revoked or invalid driver’s license or insurance.

TAXIS

How the checks work: City regulations require drivers to undergo a fingerprint background check in order to drive a taxi, limo or shuttle in Austin.

Who gets disqualified: Applicants convicted of certain offences — homicide, fraud or theft, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, prostitution or promoting of it, sexual assault, abuse or indecency, firearms violations, violence to a person, drug offenses and driving while intoxicated — are out, unless they have served their sentence and “maintained a record of good conduct and steady employment” since their release.

PROPOSED ORDINANCE

How the checks would work: All drivers for transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, would have to be at least 21, with a valid driver’s license, auto insurance, proof of car registration and valid inspection. Starting Feb. 1, prospective TNC drivers would have to pass a fingerprint-based national criminal background check and submit the results of a driver history check, with the goal of getting virtually all TNC drivers checked within a year.

Who would be disqualified: Applicants would be out if they have at least three moving violations within the past three years, or if they have been charged with driving without insurance or a suspended license in the last three years. A separate ordinance would spell out which charges would disqualify applicants from driving for a TNC or taxi company, with the goal of making the standard the same.

What else would be required: The proposed ordinance would charge TNCs a fee of 1 percent of their Austin revenue, require vehicles to have “trade dress” identifying them as associated with a particular company, prohibit drivers from parking in travel lanes to take on or drop off passengers, confine ride-hailing to specific areas at large events and require drivers’ cars to pass a 20-point city safety inspection.

Sources: Uber, Lyft, City of Austin


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

15-year-old girl shot at Texas school; boy, 16, arrested
15-year-old girl shot at Texas school; boy, 16, arrested

A 15-year-old student was injured in a shooting in her high school cafeteria Monday morning and a 16-year-old boy, also a student at the school, was taken into custody, Ellis County sheriff’s officials said. The girl was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas after the shooting in the small town of Italy, some 45 miles south of Dallas...
New details emerge in crime spree that left woman dead, others injured
New details emerge in crime spree that left woman dead, others injured

An arrest affidavit filed Monday sheds new light on a Christmas Day crime spree that preceded the death of a woman in East Austin and left several others injured. Xavier O’Neil Lewis, 20, was booked into the Travis County Jail Dec. 28 and was charged with capital murder in the death of 30-year-old Ebony Michelle Sheppard. He was also charged...
Texas brewers group forms a PAC to change state’s ‘broken’ beer laws
Texas brewers group forms a PAC to change state’s ‘broken’ beer laws

The Texas Craft Brewers Guild on Monday announced the launch of a political action committee, a sign the state’s craft brewing industry is maturing. The Texas Craft Brewers Guild’s CraftPAC will use monetary contributions from brewers and consumers to support legislation, legislative candidates and other political initiatives they say will...
Police: Bookkeeper stole more than $80,000 from Georgetown soccer club
Police: Bookkeeper stole more than $80,000 from Georgetown soccer club

A Georgetown woman has been accused of stealing more than $82,000 from the Georgetown Soccer Association, an arrest affidavit said. Amy Ward, 42, was charged with theft, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The soccer association’s president told police that Ward made unauthorized purchases with the group’s debit...
Officer in Breaion King case fired amid new force complaint
Officer in Breaion King case fired amid new force complaint

An Austin police officer who received a reprimand for his violent arrest of a teacher in 2015 was fired Monday after officials said he used excessive force on a suspect. Officer Bryan Richter lost his job stemming from an incident in which Richter and other officers were serving a warrant as part of a special team in the department’s organized...
More Stories