Colorado fines Uber $8.9m for allowing drivers with felony convictions

Colorado Fines Uber $8.9M For Lax Driver Background Checks

Colorado Fines Uber $8.9M For Lax Driver Background Checks

In cross-checking records from the company, the PUC found the several drivers who were hired by Uber but shouldn't have been under state law.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) fined Uber $8.9 million on Monday for allowing drivers with "disqualifying" criminal or motor vehicle offenses to drive for the company. During the investigation it was revealed that Uber allowed people to drive with previous felony convictions, major moving violations, including DUI, DWI, reckless driving, driving under restraint, and numerous instances of individuals driving with suspended, revoked or cancelled driver's licenses.

The subsequent inquiry found twelve Uber drivers with felony convictions, seventeen with major moving-vehicle violations, three with interlock driver's licenses (assessed following drunk-driving convictions) and 63 who had other unspecified driver's-license issues, the PUC calculates.

Uber has been fined almost $9 million for violations of driver qualifications laws by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

"PUC staff was able to find felony convictions that the company's background checks failed to find, demonstrating that the company's background checks are inadequate", said PUC Director Doug Dean. The dollar amount of the penalty corresponds to a fine of $2,500 for every day that a so-called disqualified driver was determined to have worked in Colorado. "These actions put the safety of passengers in extreme jeopardy". Taxi drivers, by comparison, had stricter criminal background checks and are subject to fingerprint background checks by the FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Nevertheless, after he was released from prison, he became a driver for Uber.

A spokesperson for Uber disputed the agency's story, saying that the company had discovered "a process error" and "proactively notified" the PUC. "This error affected a small number of drivers and we immediately took corrective action".

Uber mostly conducts digital background checks via a startup called Checkr. It then reviews driving and criminal histories in national, state and local databases. As part of allowing ride-sharing services in the state, the companies had to perform criminal background and driver's history checks before hiring workers. People with felony convictions, alcohol and drug driving convictions, sexual crime convictions and major moving vehicle violations are barred from working for such companies.

Checkr is bound by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a federal law that regulates how reporting agencies use a person's information.

An ignition Interlock is a device installed in a auto that requires a breath sample before the engine can start.