Regulations

Thousands Fail Mass. TNC Background Checks

Tom Halligan
Posted on April 6, 2017
More than 8,000 TNC drivers were denied licenses In Massachusetts due to new background check law.Photo source: Pixabay (Creative Commons)
More than 8,000 TNC drivers were denied licenses In Massachusetts due to new background check law.Photo source: Pixabay (Creative Commons)

BOSTON — The persistent hard work of the New England Livery Association (NELA) working with other private transportation associations to ensure public safety paid off as a new Massachusetts state law requiring stricter TNC background checks denied licenses to more than 8,000 Uber and Lyft drivers for various offenses.

“We are thrilled to see the statistics from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is the direct result of our all-out effort working to get new legislation passed last year,” said Rick Szilagyi, NELA executive director. The team we forged between taxi and livery, and with national organizations like the National Limousine Association and the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, and our continuous effort to generate funds enabled us to assemble a team of professionals to guide and execute the legislative plan. It worked — and we’re not done yet,” 

Under the TNC rideshare bill, signed by the governor into law Aug. 5, 2016, the state now conducts double background checks of drivers to be done twice per year through the state of Massachusetts Dept. of Public safety, which goes through the FBI, in addition to the TNC’s background checks.

“This is what we told the state legislature for three years. The people who use TNCs have been exposed to any dredge of the earth that could become a TNC driver and nobody knew their background,” said Scott Solombrino, president and CEO of Dav El / BostonCoach Chauffeured Transportation Network. “This now gives us impetus to move forward on further legislation that would require fingerprinting --- the gold standard of background checks.”

A bill is circulating in the state legislature (MA H535) that would require fingerprinting for TNCs, he said, noting that because the state denied licenses to 8,000 drivers because of basic background checks, “imagine how many more they would deny if fingerprint checks were required?"

Mike Fogarty, president of Tristar Worldwide, and former president of the TLPA, said, “The results of the Masssachusetts background checks clearly demonstrate Uber and Lyft’s self-conducted background checks are worthless. We are happy we successfully lobbied to achieve the state run background check process. However, we are convinced more than ever fingerprint background checks are the best solution to protect the public. We intend to continue our efforts and see fingerprint background checks implemented."

Solombrino, also a board member of the National Limousine Association, asserted the Massachusetts law — especially after the news spreads of the thousands of license denials for TNC drivers — could reverberate nationwide and spur stricter state TNC regulations.

“It’s outrageous to have 8,000 people rejected for licenses based on the most basic background checks. That’s why we believe fingerprinting should be required,” Solombrino said.

See Boston Globe article

Related Topics: background checks, Boston operators, MASSACHUSETTS, Massachusetts operators, National Limousine Association, New England Livery Association, New England operators, regulatory enforcement, Rick Szilagyi, Scott Solombrino, state regulations, Taxi Limousine Paratransit & Association, TNCs

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