Memphis magazine’s September article about the local operations of transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft touched on the real or imagined dangers of using those apps. We quoted Premiere Transportation president Ham Smythe on the difference between his company’s fingerprint background checks and Checkr (and/or Accurate), the services used by Uber.
We recently received more information about Uber’s background checks from a company spokesperson.
While there have been no reported incidents with Uber or Lyft drivers behaving unsafely in Memphis, it is worth noting that there have been a spare number of national incidents reported. Our article concluded that it is likely more risky to work as a driver for the companies, especially a female driver on a late night schedule, than it is to ride with Uber or Lyft.
From an Uber spokesperson:
“Here is some background information for you on our process:
● All driver-partners wanting to use the Uber platform are required to undergo an extensive background check, which is performed on our behalf by Accurate and/or Checkr. Both are accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners and use a process for Uber that is similar to that provided to other companies such as Care.com, Starbucks, WalMart, Nike, FedEx, UPS, and Amazon.
● People wanting to sign up with Uber as a driver-partner are required to provide detailed information, including their full name, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, a copy of their driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance, and proof of a completed vehicle inspection. With the potential driver’s approval, Accurate and/or Checkr then look into his or her background.
● Our independent vendors run a social security trace to identify addresses associated with the potential driver’s name going back seven years, and then a criminal background check to search for his or her name and addresses in a series of national, state, and local databases.
● These background checks also pull the Motor Vehicle Registration (MVR) file associated with the license number provided. The MVR is not always included as a standard part of criminal background checks, but Uber believes it is important for screening driver-partners because it includes information about how many speeding or other moving violations an individual has received.
● The vendors conduct searches in a series of national, state, and local databases. These include the National Sex Offender Registry, National Criminal Search, and several different databases used to flag suspected terrorists. Upon identifying a potential criminal record, the background check provider sends someone to review the record digitally or in-person at the relevant courthouse. Verifying potential criminal records at the source — the courthouse records — helps ensure the records match the identity of the potential driver and that any arrest resulted in a conviction.
● Our independent vendors also crosscheck all driver-partners against the National Sex Offender Registry, as well as public registries maintained at the state level, to screen for disqualifying sex offenses.
Background info on fingerprinting [the background check system used by traditional cab companies in Memphis]:
● Like all background check systems, Livescan has its flaws. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) has challenged the belief that Livescan is “the gold standard” of criminal background checks.
● For example, when using a fingerprint-only detection system, generally only criminal records linked with a fingerprint can be identified and reported. This is not necessarily someone’s full criminal history.
● Fingerprints can be taken incorrectly or can be smudged, lost, or not entered correctly on the arrest record to begin with.
● A 2011 study by Carnegie Mellon looked at technicians’ accuracy rates when visually reviewing fingerprint matches — 85 percent of the technicians studied reached at least one false-negative conclusion, for an overall false-negative rate of 7.5 percent. In other words, biometric background check processes may miss 7.5 percent of criminals with low quality fingerprints.
- More information on safety at Uber is available HERE.”