Drivers who earn money chauffeuring commuters for the ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber will undergo much more comprehensive background checks, starting Jan. 6, that have been hailed as the most stringent in the country. Every current driver and those who apply to become drivers for the ride-hailing services will be put through a state criminal background check and an additional check of their driving records. The goal is to have every driver checked out by Apr. 3. The agreement was reached by the Massachusetts Legislature and signed by Governor Baker in late November.
Governor Baker expressed his intention to create a “national standard,” not just for these two companies, but for any ride-hailing services that may pop up in the future as well. The background checks will be conducted by a new division under the authority of the Department of Public Utilities, and will ensure that the driver is not a registered sex offender. The requirements will also mandate two checks of the driver’s driving records per year. The background checks are to be split up, one check being made by the individual company and another check being made by the state. At this point, these regulations are still written as “voluntary” measures to help ensure better passenger safety.
A major point of contention is that the new regulations do not mandate fingerprinting for Lyft and Uber drivers, which all cab drivers must undergo in Boston. Some insist that fingerprint records are the easiest and most effective form of background check. Lyft and Uber both maintain the efficiency of their current protocols, despite each having their share of incidents involving crimes committed by their drivers.
Sharing a car with a stranger can never be totally safe
There is a certain degree of trust that you place into a stranger when you climb into their vehicle and take off on a destination. A driver may come up totally clean on a background check, have no prior driving incidents or any indication of being dangerous, and then proceed to commit a crime or injure a passenger. This is an unfortunate reality of dealing with human beings in any facet of life.
While there is no comprehensive record on just how many violent or potentially-tragic accidents and incidents have occurred at the hands of ride-sharing service drivers, it is safe to assume that it is a real risk simply given the number of interactions daily and the services’ rapid growth across the nation.
These new regulations simply aim to make it more difficult for a bad person to earn the trust of a company and gain access to potential victims, which is a good thing. However, one should always be wary of their surroundings and remain aware of themselves when utilizing any service that places you in the care of a stranger.
If you were victimized by a ride-sharing service, call us today
Companies that involve direct person-to-person services carry a great burden to assure, to the best of their ability, that the customers that utilize their services are as safe as realistically can be expected. For services like Lyft and Uber, this means painstakingly enacting and enforcing policies that put great scrutiny on the drivers they hire.
If you, or anybody you love, has been victimized or harmed in any way by a driver of a ride-sharing service, you may be eligible for financial compensation at the expense of the perpetrator’s company. If it turns out that the driver was improperly screened or the company missed a glaring red flag about the driver’s criminal history, you will definitely have a chance to collect damages stemming from the company’s negligence.
At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 40 years of experience pursuing negligent companies and helping people who have been injured as a result of their carelessness. Our team of legal professionals will examine your case and pursue it in the most efficient way to get you the recompense that you are entitled to. Call us for a free consultation today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.