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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 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies.

The state of play: Biden also raised arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to a White House readout. The statement said Biden and Putin agreed maintain "consistent communication," and that Biden stressed the U.S. would "act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies."

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.