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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.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February — FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated".
  2. Vaccines: Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Beijing Olympic Committee lowers COVID testing threshold ahead of Games — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker