Many see Uber as a convenient form of transportation, but in reality it can also be a convenient way for predators to be put in a one-on-one situation with possible victims.
Transportation services such as Uber and Lyft are too loosely regulated to ensure the safety of their riders and should be used with caution until they implement a more comprehensive system of vetting their drivers.
More than 100 million Uber trips happen every day according to the company; however, they do not have a process that secures its users.
In February an Uber driver shot eight civilians, killing six, and even collected fares in between killings, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This incident sparked conversation on Uber’s safety policies and whether or not they inspect their drivers enough.
In October, 2015 a driver allegedly raped an intoxicated woman he picked up from a bar in Orange County.
In August 2015, a complaint was filed against Uber by the San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorney’s offices after a report found 25 drivers with criminal records that included murder, child abuse and assault.
The background checking system that Uber uses only checks seven years into the person’s history, missing many key details that could put a rider in contact with someone potentially dangerous.
“A lot of the information that Uber has presented to consumers has been false and misleading,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said in a press conference.
While Uber claims to have the “industry-leading” technology in background checks, they do not finger print their drivers. This step would avoid cases like that of a convicted murderer who spent 26 years in prison being able to drive for the company because he used a different name. The mistake that would have been identified by LiveScan, the background checking process that many taxi companies use.
Taxi drivers are also required to undergo background checks by local district attorney’s offices; Uber drivers are not. Why should two companies providing the same service not be required to follow the same regulations to protect their consumers?
The company requires future drivers to meet with an agent for a car inspection, but the meeting focuses on the car and not enough on the person’s qualifications.
The rider’s safety will be in the driver’s hands while they are taking an Uber, therefore it is not too much to ask having those hands be thoroughly checked.