Uber is being fined $8.9 million for erroneous checks that failed to prevent nearly 60 ineligible drivers in Colorado from signing up on the ridesharing service.
A total of 57 drivers who either had felony convictions or lacked a valid license were operating as Uber drivers in Colorado, and the Public Utilities Commission levied a fine on the company, Reuters reports.
The commissions’ investigation found 12 drivers had felony convictions, 17 drivers had major driving-related offenses, and three had licenses usually given to drunk drivers.
“We have determined that Uber had background-check information that should have disqualified these drivers under the law, but they were allowed to drive anyway,” Doug Dean, PUC communications director, said in a statement to the Denver Post. “These actions put the safety of passengers in extreme jeopardy.”
Colorado legislation passed in 2014 prohibits drivers from signing up with Uber if they have been convicted of a felony in the past five years, or have ever been convicted of felony assault, violent crimes, sexual offenses or fraud.
Uber said the error in the background checks was limited to a few drivers, and that they corrected it quickly.
“This error affected a small number of drivers and we immediately took corrective action,” company spokeswoman Stephanie Sedlak said. “Uber safety policies and Colorado state regulations, drivers with access to the Uber app must undergo a nationally accredited third-party background screening. We will continue to work closely with the CPUC to enable access to safe, reliable transportation options for all Coloradans.”
“They said their private background checks were superior to anything out there,” Dean said. “We can tell you their private background checks were not superior. In some cases, we could not say they even provided a background check.”
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