Jul 13, 2018 - Technology

Uber begins monitoring U.S. driver background checks continuously

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As part of a plan to improve safety for its riders, Uber is rolling out ongoing background checks for its drivers, the company tells Axios. Uber has partnered with its background check provider, Checkr, and Appriss, which provides safety data.

Why it matters: Over the years, Uber has been plagued with incidents of driver violence or unsafe behavior. Once a driver had a clean initial background check, the company couldn't always track later violations or problems.

How it works: Through Appriss’s real-time collection of data, Uber will be notified if a driver is newly charged with a criminal offense. From there, Uber can decide if it wants to suspend a driver from its service to prevent unsafe behavior.

  • Uber began testing this system at the beginning of July, deploying it to a “meaningful percentage” of its U.S. drivers, and it has led to 25 drivers being removed so far, Uber VP of safety and insurance Gus Fuldner tells Axios.
  • "Ultimately what we’re looking for... is a way to get the same kind of info as in a background check, but get it in a real-time manner," says Fuldner.
  • At the same time, this constant stream of new information means that drivers whose background checks had blocked them from driving from Uber can become eligible to reapply if their charges or other disqualifying information gets resolved.

Bottom line: This new tech could mean more accurate and up-to-date information about a driver's level of safety on the road, but it's still early in the testing process. It also won't help the company avoid incidents involving drivers with no prior record of violations.

The story has been updated to clarify that Uber is monitoring new criminal charges specifically, not moving violations through this new system.

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