Are you thinking about becoming an Uber or Lyft driver in California to make a little extra cash? Well, that just became more difficult if you have a criminal past.
According to yesterday’s LA Weekly, criminal background checks on potential ride-share drivers have been extended from 7 years to infinity. So if you’re a 90 year-old looking to supplement your social security income, yet you committed a serious crime when you were 18, you might want to think twice.
In all seriousness though, the new laws are definitely tougher. However, Los Angeles cabbies must go through fingerprint-based checks to check for previous crimes within the California Department of Justice and FBI databases. While many are applauding the move, some also think that ride-sharing companies (like Uber and Lyft) and taxi drivers should have to undergo the same type of screening process.
According to KCRA 3 in Sacramento, a woman named Marybeth McMann recently had a very disturbing experience while taking an Uber from the Sacramento International Airport to her home in Napa. She recounted her story:
“I always just assumed this it was safe because it was an Uber,” McMann said.
However, just minutes into her drive home red flags started going up as the driver began discussing his criminal history.
“It went down the rabbit hole of, ‘I was in a gang; and I was arrested for money laundering and did six months in federal; and that was nothing compared to the other times I was in jail,'” McMann recalled.
Then, the conversation got even more concerning – turning sexual in nature. She texted her husband and told him to meet them at a Napa Target store.
“The thought that was going through my head over and over is, ‘I just have to get home to my family,’” she said.
So while the legislation to improve rider safety in ride-sharing companies is a step in the right direction in protecting riders such as Marybeth, a criminal or two could still find their way through the gaps that unfortunately exist in the background screening world.