Despite touting customer safety and protection as its number one priority including a supposedly rigorous screening process for its drivers, Uber has found itself in the spotlight several times in recent years due to Uber drivers accused of assaulting customers, driving recklessly, and causing fatalities. How is this happening, and what needs to be done about it?
According to a 2018 audit of Uber carried out by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), Uber’s required background check and safety screening process fails to account for a number of factors, and this failure is putting people at risk. In addition to consenting to a background check performed by a company called Checkr, an individual who is interested in becoming a driver for Uber must submit information regarding their driving record, employment history, and criminal record. An analysis of all of this information will deem the individual either eligible or ineligible to work for the company; if deemed eligible, they can almost immediately begin providing rides.
This may sound like a solid system for ensuring safety, but it doesn’t account for at least one major possibility: a once-eligible driver could incur any number of driving violations or criminal convictions during their employment with Uber and remain undetected. This means that at the present moment, any number of Uber drivers on the road could be unqualified, and possibly even dangerous. Almost everyone would agree that this is a problem, but that doesn’t mean it’s one that can’t be fixed.
Based on the findings of their audit, the PUC made four recommendations for the enhancement of Uber’s screening process, the first of which is for Uber to implement a system that allows them to continuously monitor the driving and criminal records of their drivers. If this were done, Uber would have the ability ensure that their drivers adhere to the eligibility requirements for as long as they remain employed by Uber. Second, the PUC recommended that a more thorough screening process could be made possible by extending the geographical areas checked for each driver, thereby ensuring that violations received in other states or jurisdictions do not go undetected. The third recommendation by the PUC was to implement fingerprinting as an additional measure during the background check process. Lastly, the PUC recommended that Uber track the identities of all individuals who have previously worked for and been let go or deemed unqualified by other ridesharing companies.
The screening process was not the only area where the PUC identified inadequacies. Specifically, the PUC noted that the customer feedback and complaint system is lacking in a couple of ways, primarily due to insufficient or incomplete data collection with regard to user experiences. The implementation of new technology or improved usage of current technology, such as dash cams, data-collection devices, and a compilation of metrics could improve Uber’s ability to gather critical information during the course of important investigations, as well as better identify and address customer needs.
Finding yourself in a situation involving an accident or incident with an Uber driver can be an overwhelmingly stressful situation, leaving you with numerous questions and no direction on where to turn for answers. Attempting to navigate legal technicalities, converse with insurance agents who are backed by large and powerful companies, and gather the evidence necessary to prove your case without the assistance of a seasoned attorney is almost sure to leave you with a poor outcome. Don’t wait to take the first step toward obtaining justice and compensation with the help of one of our attorneys. We’ll be by your side each step of the way, helping you to recover, feel at ease, and move on with your life.