Uber and Lyft claim to run background checks on their drivers, but research suggests that these background checks may not be as extensive as we believe. Almost anyone with a driver’s license and their own vehicle can sign up to be an Uber or Lyft driver and the company’s hiring process does not involve any face-to-face meetings. Uber and Lyft do hire felons, some with violent crimes on their records, which can put you and other passengers at risk.
The Uber and Lyft Hiring Process
Uber and Lyft have very similar hiring processes to one another. First, you complete an application through the app or online. Next, you submit your required documents, which can include a driver’s license, proof of residency, and proof of insurance.
To drive for Uber, you will need to meet the following minimum requirements.
- You will have to be old enough to drive and have at least one year of driving experience (three years if under the age of 23).
- You have to have a four-door vehicle and a driver’s license, as well as proof of residency and insurance.
- You will need to have a safe driving record.
- You will need to pass a background check.
To drive for Lyft, you will need to meet the following minimum requirements.
- You will need to be at least 21 years old unless you live in New York City. NYC drivers can be as young as 18.
- You will have to have at least one year of licensed driving experience if you are driving in certain states, including California. Most states do not have this requirement.
- You will need to have a safe driving record, clean of DUIs or serious driving-related convictions. Four or more moving violations in the last three years can also disqualify a driver.
- You will have to pass a background check.
Uber and Lyft’s Background Check Requirements
Uber and Lyft both require their drivers to pass a background check in order to become a driver. Each company looks for the same basic convictions, but Uber has a more relaxed background check process when compared to Lyft.
Lyft will deny your application if they uncover any of the following circumstances. The timeframe may be shorter or longer depending on where you plan to drive.
- Sex offender registration
- Any violent crime convictions, such as kidnapping, homicide, or human trafficking
- Any sexual offense conviction
- An act of terror conviction
- Recent DUI convictions within seven years
- Recent fraud convictions within seven years
- Recent drug-related offenses within seven years
- Recent theft or property damage convictions within seven years
Uber will deny your application if you have any of the following convictions.
- Major moving violations within the past seven years
- More than three moving violations within three years
- A conviction for a felony, violent crime, or sexual offense within the last seven years
Felons Driving for Uber and Lyft
While Uber and Lyft do run background checks, some felons can slip through the cracks. Uber and Lyft do hire people with past felony convictions, much to the detriment of passengers. According to the Boston Globe, the state of Massachusetts purged more than 8,000 rideshare drivers from the road in 2017 after discovering they had serious crimes on their record. These crimes included sexual assault, physical assault, and drunk driving.
Lyft’s background checks are more intense than Uber’s since they exclude all drivers who have serious felony convictions. However, Uber only looks at a record within the last seven years – meaning you could ride with a person who has received a sexual assault or kidnapping conviction.
While Uber and Lyft may claim that they vet their drivers appropriately, many felons can fall through the cracks. Most ex-convicts will not jeopardize their freedom by harming you, but ones with violent crimes on their records could pose a serious safety risk to you. If an Uber or Lyft driver harms you in any way, file a report with law enforcement and seek medical attention. After taking these steps, contact an Uber sexual assault attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. The Uber sexual assault lawyers at our law firm can represent you with your lawsuit against Uber or Lyft.