Regulations

NLA, TLPA Push For-Hire Fingerprint Background Checks

Posted on June 22, 2016

NEW YORK—The National Limousine Association (NLA) and the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) jointly announced on June 22  a unified position calling for all drivers who transport passengers for a fee to be subject to national fingerprint-based background checks.

The stance is aimed at ensuring the highest standards in vetting the nation's hundreds of thousands of for-hire drivers, and to ensure universal practices to maximize passenger safety are instituted and upheld.

Most drivers within fleets operated by NLA and TLPA members in large to mid-sized cities must pass a fingerprint-based background check before they can transport passengers. However, in nearly every market, services such as Uber and Lyft do not use a fingerprint-based method to vet their drivers. 

“For years, many sectors of business, from daycare centers to commercial airlines, have relied on fingerprint-based background checks to verify the accuracy and authenticity of security screenings," said Gary Buffo, president of the NLA, in a statement. "The TLPA and NLA believe we must exhaust all feasible avenues to make certain the people behind the wheels of commercial ground transportation vehicles are indeed who they claim to be. Thanks to recent technological advances, fingerprint background checks are more widely available and accessible than ever before, and it is time we establish a new nationwide standard."

Dwight Kines, president of the TLPA, said, "There simply is no substitute for a fingerprint-based background check. You can fake a name or a social security number, but fingerprints don't lie. The  numerous news reports of dangerous drivers for Uber and Lyft are reason enough to call for common-sense safety precautions, and that starts with fingerprints."

A study released last year found fingerprint-based criminal background checks have a potential error rate of only 1%, while name-based background checks can have a potential error rate of 43%.

Uber to leave New Jersey over fingerprinting

In a related story, Uber supports letting New Jersey's attorney general -- rather than lawmakers -- decide what type of background checks its drivers should undergo, but said it still plans to leave the state if fingerprinting is required.

Spokesman Matt Wing said the San Francisco-based company supports an amended measure in the state Senate that would give the attorney general 100 days to decide the type and method of criminal background checks required of all drivers and applicants.

The company has threatened to leave the state if lawmakers require fingerprinting, and it has aggressively lobbied against those requirements in New Jersey and elsewhere. A competing measure in the state Legislature would require fingerprint checks if the ride-hailing companies don't use a check approved by the New Jersey state police.

Arkansas Online article here

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