Uber, a Transportation Network Company based out of San Francisco, recently announced that it will be running more consistent and comprehensive background checks on its drivers from here on out. The new background checks will reportedly complement national database screening with both county and federal criminal record searches directly at specific court houses.
Founded as a start-up entrepreneurial venture in 2009, Uber offers taxi-based chauffeuring services with a comfortable, technological, and luxurious twist. Uber customers use the company's mobile application to reserve pickups and rides in cities around the nation. Uber arranges the rides and sends drivers“ often in Lincoln Town Cars or other fancy BMW, Mercedes, or Cadillac automobiles. The company also handles the billing for the rides, a tip-free charge policy that uses metered pay systems similar to what is found in more conventional taxis. Because of the convenience of reserving the ride ahead of time, not to mention the comfort and luxury of the vehicles used, Uber charges more than most taxi companies.
In addition to the black car services it has become known for, Uber has made an effort recently to branch out to a more mainstream consumer base. These efforts have led to the addition of less pricy cars to the Uber fleet, as well as the inception of carpool ride sharing services. Uber has created a separate section of its business called UberX to meet the demand of these consumer-based services.
Before this expansion strategy was implemented, Uber largely relied on other sources to screen its drivers. Most drivers who aspire to work in taxi or black car services are required to submit to a local or state background check in order to obtain their commercial driver's licenses. In addition, all UberX ridesharing drivers are already subject to a background check system that reportedly looks for criminal records across various states. However, while Uber hasn't been sending out entirely unchecked drivers to fulfill customer car reservations, the company has also not made a point of taking responsibility for pre-employment background checks themselves.
Now that recent issues have exposed loopholes in the current vendor's criminal database coverage, Uber is taking charge of its own background check policies. Going forward, the company will require all new drivers to undergo background checks on both county and federal levels aside from the national criminal database scans it currently executes. Uber will also run background checks on existing drivers who have not been sufficiently screened for duty. Uber has not yet indicated precisely what the checks will be looking for. Criminal history checks, sex offender registry searches, and driving record reviews are generally considered the default background checks for employees working in a taxi-based industry. Those checks and others are available through backgroundchecks.com, which has access to over 450 million criminal records throughout the United States. That database is considered the #1 criminal conviction database in the industry, based on a comparison of the number of sources of conviction data for online criminal conviction databases that make their source list publicly available.