Proposal Would Require Drug Testing for California Uber Drivers

Proposal Would Require Drug Testing for California Uber Drivers
File photo by Jason Devaun/Flickr

Uber says it offers "the safest rides on the road," but a series of sexual assault allegations against some of its drivers have called its screening process into question.

The company requires background checks and says it conducts "ongoing reviews of drivers’ motor vehicle records." But critics argue that the checks aren't as comprehensive as the Live Scan background screenings cabbies undergo.

Those are based on fingerprinting and the FBI's relatively comprehensive database.

A lawsuit filed late last year by district attorneys of Los Angeles and San Francisco alleges that Uber's checks don't fingerprint prospective drivers, casting at least some doubt over the veracity of their identity.

One possible scenario, prosecutors said, is that a criminal could use the ID of a younger brother with a clean record to apply to become an Uber driver. Fingerprinting would usually prevent that.

Lyft settled with the D.A.s, but Uber was fighting the suit. The filing seeks to get the company to stop using its marketing materials to allegedly exaggerate the effectiveness of its driver screening process.

In any case, state Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian of Sherman Oaks wants to make fingerprint-based background checks for ride-share app drivers the law.

A bill he announced this week would also mandate random drug tests for drivers and institute "pull notices" that would alert the ride-share companies "immediately when an arrest for a DUI or a serious conviction has occurred," according to a statement from the lawmaker's office.

Nazarian says:

Rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft that claim to be focused on consumer safety, should welcome and embrace the opportunity to show consumers how safe and friendly their drivers can be, while providing an affordable and technology-driven transportation service. Who would be against making sure your driver is not a convicted felon or a reckless driver?

Who indeed.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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