PHOTO: A car equipped with the trademark Lyft mustache. (Photo via Flickr/Alfredo Mendez)
State officials announced that a Massachusetts law passed in 2016 requiring Uber and Lyft drivers to undergo more thorough background checks resulted in over 10 percent of drivers failing the examinations.
According to The Associated Press, figures released Wednesday revealed that more than 62,000 drivers passed the extensive background checks, but around 8,200 failed. The most common reasons behind the failures were suspended licenses, having a license for less than three years and multiple driving offenses.
In addition, the background checks discovered that 300 drivers had previous felony convictions and another 51 were registered sex offenders.
“Public safety is a top priority for this administration and we are pleased to have completed this first round of in-depth background checks a year ahead of schedule,” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement.
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The two-part background checks required Uber and Lyft to conduct their own multi-state criminal, sex offender and driving background checks. Once a driver passed those examinations, they were referred to the state, which ran its own background checks.
While many ride-hailing users appreciate the extra effort to weed out drivers who could be dangerous or ill-prepared for the job, officials from Uber claim the background process is too strict.
“Thousands of people in Massachusetts have lost access to economic opportunities as a result of a screening that includes an unfair and unjust indefinite look back period,” Uber said in a statement obtained by the Boston Globe. “We have an opportunity to repair the current system in the rules process so that people who deserve to work are not denied the opportunity.”