Congress calls on ride-hailing companies to run fingerprint background checks on drivers

March 10, 2015 - 

Eight members of the U.S. Congress have called on ride-hailing companies Uber Technologies, Lyft and Sidecar Technologies to begin running fingerprint-based background checks on their drivers as they tend to be “more comprehensive and harder to fake,” according to a report by PC World.

There has been mounting pressure on the companies to improve their screening process following recent reports of sexual and other assaults by drivers in certain cities.

Representatives Rosa DeLauro, Louise Slaughter, Niki Tsongas, Keith Ellison, Yvette Clarke, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Corrine Brown and John Garamendi wrote identical letters to the CEO’s of Uber, Lyft and Sidecar stating that the new requirement is fairly standard as many state-regulated taxi cab companies currently implement fingerprint-based background checks.

Additionally, fingerprint checks are regarded as being more efficient since they are linked to nationwide databases of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said the representatives.

“While we understand your companies conduct private background checks when vetting potential drivers, you should take additional steps to increase the safety of your customers,” the eight Democratic representatives all wrote in their letters to the CEO’s of Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.

The letters also referenced recent assault incidents by drivers in Boston, Los Angeles, District of Columbia, Chicago and San Francisco.

Delhi authorities have enforced stricter rules for Internet based taxi services an incident where an Uber driver allegedly raped a female customer.

The Congress members argued that existing screening standards for drivers do not make use of all the available tools, and recommended that they should use the most “rigorous and comprehensive” methods available.

All three ride-hailing companies currently contract third-party companies to perform background checks on their drivers by running Social Security numbers against county-by-county online records, said Congress members.

Previously reported, Uber is currently conducting a “global review” of its safety measures with plans to introduce new safety initiatives this year.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.