Are We Hypocrites While We Demand Uber Fingerprints?

Jim Luff
Posted on July 6, 2016


As an industry, we have placed great blame on Uber’s lack of solid driver background checks as reports of rapes, murders, assaults, and criminal behavior mount among its drivers. We have gone to government officials from the city and local level to the U.S. Capitol. I sat inside the office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in April asking him to level the playing field by forcing Uber to comply with the same regulations we must comply with.

In a subsequent LCT editorial meeting, we discussed how many limo operators actually perform a true background test on their own chauffeurs that we knew of. LCT writer Anne Daniells, also a former California operator like me, confirmed she was unaware of any of her California affiliates who actually did fingerprint checks. You can count me on that list. I did not. Because we used a payroll service for “leasing” our employees, background checks were a service they offered, but without fingerprinting. They would either say yay or nay, as far as their background check. I never actually saw a report, but trusted the insurance company would notify me if a chauffeur applicant had a big red flag.

Let’s get into the cost of a true and diligent background check. Who pays for it? The employer or the employee? You may be surprised to learn you can indeed make the applicant pay for the background investigation as a condition of employment. There are laws against this practice only in Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Massachusetts. Even those laws may not apply in some cases. A background check can cost anywhere from $85 to $200, depending on what information you want searched. Those can include credit reports, court reports, driving records, educational records, and more.

If you do choose to run fingerprint checks, they cost about $25 for the actual printing, and then additional fees apply depending upon which agencies you send them to for checks. The Department of Justice is $32. The FBI charges $17. If you want a record review from DOJ, tack on another $25. We either need to implement this ourselves, or stop asking TNCs to do it as we look like hypocrites if we don’t.

Related Topics: background checks, chauffeur behavior, driver behavior, driver safety, hiring chauffeurs, Jim Luff, passenger safety, recruiting chauffeurs, Shop Talk blog

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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