If you frequently use transportation applications like Uber and Lyft, there may have been a time where you were concerned about the safety of your driver. With the massive success of these businesses, it is easy to assume that they run like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft may not always adopt the best policies when it comes to performing background checks on the drivers they employ. If you or a family member suffered an injury due to the actions of an Uber or Lyft driver, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia Uber and Lyft injury lawyer today. The injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm can help you file a personal injury claim against Uber or Lyft for injuries caused by a negligent driver. The Reiff Law Firm discuss Uber and Lyft’s background check policies for drivers in Philadelphia.
How Safe are Uber and Lyft?
When entering the vehicle of a driver employed by Uber or Lyft, it is reasonable to assume that your driver was vetted properly. However, the investigation services utilized by these two companies are less expensive and, in turn, less thorough than other services typically used in the transportation industry. This means that Uber and Lyft are cutting corners at the expense of your safety.
Uber has a history of using two companies to conduct their background checks: Hirease and Checkr. In 2016, the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles filed a lawsuit against Uber regarding background checks performed by these two companies on behalf of Uber. The investigations by these two companies missed the criminal records of 25 drivers that should have disqualified them from being employed by Uber in accordance with the company’s employment policies.
Hirease and Checkr utilized an online database to conduct background checks, and the procedure would only look at the last seven years of a prospective driver’s criminal history. This means that these background checks did not reach back as far as the law allowed and did not provide a complete picture of a potential employee’s background.
In 2017, Lyft worked with the background screening service known as Sterling Talent Solutions. Sterling performed a background check on Raja L. Kahn who was recently incarcerated for committing a federal terrorism offense by sending money to a terrorist organization. The investigation did not reveal Kahn’s conviction for terrorism. As a result, Kahn was permitted to drive for Lyft for five months against Lyft policy and Chicago’s ban against convicted terrorists working as drivers for taxi or ridesharing companies. The City of Chicago required Lyft to refrain from working with Sterling and requested that Lyft increase efforts used to perform background checks on drivers.
It is important to note that Uber and Lyft both have insurance policies to cover passengers that may be injured in a car accident due to the actions of a driver. However, that insurance policy is only triggered under certain circumstances. To learn more about the potential dangers of ridesharing services, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer.
How to Increase Security for Uber and Lyft Passengers
There are multiple methods that Uber and Lyft could adopt to increase security for their passengers. One way to make rides safer for passengers is to require potential drivers to submit to fingerprinting for background checks. Fingerprint screening through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) would allow Uber and Lyft to gain access to an applicant’s state and national criminal record.
The use of online criminal databases typically allows an employer to view about 55 percent of a person’s actual record. This means that companies like Uber and Lyft can miss vital information that may include a name change or a crime committed when the driver was a young adult.
While fingerprinting is not a 100% accurate alternative to an online database, it provides a substantial amount of information in comparison to the 7-year window offered by some screening services. The use of services like Checkr may be significantly cheaper than fingerprinting, but the inaccuracy of these services can have serious consequences down the line.
Another method used by the taxi industry is to avoid hiring drivers with extensive criminal records is requiring potential drivers to pay for their own background checks. This can be a heavy expense and often deters some individuals who know they will not be eligible to drive a taxi. If the driver pays the costs instead of the company, the company can use those funds to afford to run better background checks.
If a potential driver has committed a felony that could make them a danger to a passenger, they should not be permitted to drive passengers at all. According to an investigation conducted by CNN, approximately 100 Uber drivers were involved in sexual assault accusations in the past four years. This is a staggering amount when you consider how many trips each of those drivers may have performed before being reported.
Additionally, if a driver has a poor driving record that includes offenses like reckless driving, these applicants should not be entrusted with the well-being of passengers.
Our Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You File a Claim Against a Ride-Sharing Service
If you or a family member was injured during a trip with Uber or Lyft, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney today. At The Reiff Law Firm, we are dedicated to providing you with aggressive legal representation against negligent companies that are responsible for causing you an injury. To schedule a free legal consultation, call us at (215) 246-9000.