The Yale Daily News recently published an article about the safety of Uber, a ride share service that has been rapidly expanding throughout the nation. Questions have arisen after certificates for free Uber rides were distributed throughout campus as part of the company’s advertising campaign.
The service has its proponents and detractors. Some students interviewed for the article offered positive feedback about their Uber experiences, but others expressed concerns about safety. An issue student raised concerned the company’s background check policy. In response to these concerns, the article reports that, “According to Uber’s website, each driver undergoes a background check process that includes county, multi-state and federal checks going back seven years, historical and ongoing motor vehicle checks, a national sex offender registry screen and social security trace.”
Yet neighboring Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, banned Uber after the school’s public safety officials determined that it does not abide by the state’s taxi laws. One of the reasons they specifically expressed was a concern that the company does not do thorough background checks.
Quinnipiac University officials are not the only one to question the thoroughness of the background checks. As Uber and other rideshare companies rapidly expand and become more popular, many community officials question whether these companies should be regulated in the same manner as taxis and other forms of public transportation. They also question safety concerns.
These questions are important and serve a community purpose. When safety issues are swept under the rug and ignored, they tend to be forgotten – until something bad happens. Requiring ride share drivers to undergo background checks, and re-investigating them periodically is one way the companies can demonstrate their commitment to offering safe services.