Austin council member calling for mandatory fingerprint checks for Lyft and Uber drivers

October 8, 2015 - 

Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen is pushing for changes to be made to transportation network companies (TNC) regulations which would enforce Lyft and Uber drivers to be fingerprinted and to submit for background criminal history checks, according to a report by BizJournals.

If these changes are made, it could have disastrous consequences for Lyft in particular. The ride hailing company recently ended operations in Houston, which has one of the most-comprehensive TNC ordinances in the country, after the city made fingerprint background checks mandatory for drivers.

A Lyft spokesperson said the company does “not operate in any market that requires drivers to be fingerprinted.”

The prices for both Uber and Lyft depend on a steady stream of drivers who work an average of less-than 20 hours a week in order to keep up with demand, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the taxi-industry supported “Who’s Driving You?” campaign is lobbying for fingerprinting and other regulation for TNCs.

“Uber and Lyft’s position that it’s too onerous to require their part-time drivers to be fingerprinted is self-serving and dangerous,” said Dave Sutton, spokesperson for the campaign. “An unsafe part-time driver poses just as much risk to passengers as a full-timer. If commonsense fingerprint background checks are a hindrance to Uber and Lyft’s business growth—their business model needs to change.”

Previously reported, California officials have demanded ride-sharing firm Uber to start using law enforcement fingerprint checks in Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco as a more thorough screening practice to ensure that its drivers do not have any recent records of violence or crime.

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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.