Regulators adopt new safety rules for Uber, Lyft
SAN FRANCISCO » California regulators on Thursday adopted new safety rules for ride- hailing companies Uber and Lyft that will not require their drivers be fingerprinted as part of background checks, rejecting a push by the taxi industry.
The California Public Utilities Commission in a meeting in San Francisco unanimously voted to approve the safety regulations it proposed last month after a year- long review spearheaded by the taxi industry.
Dave Sutton, a spokesman for a group that represents the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit As- sociat ion, cal led the decision “a mistake.”
“The CPUC has made a mistake that may come back to haunt California riders,” Sutton said.
It is generally up to local governments to conduct background checks on taxi drivers and those checks often include fingerprinting them. In California, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco all require taxi drivers to be fingerprinted, Sutton said.
He said that when a taxi driver is fingerprinted, those prints are reviewed by local law enforcement and the FBI.
“Law enforcement and experts agree that fingerprints- based background checks are far superior in terms of protecting passengers,” he added.
But the CPUC disagreed, saying fingerprinting doesn’t insure more safety to riders.
“Although we recognize the public’s familiarity with fingerprinting, we do not see that a demonstratively greater level of safety would be added over and above the current background- check protocols,” Commissioner Liane Randolph wrote.
The regulations, first announced Oct. 4, will require the ride- hai ling companies to conduct annual screenings of drivers and that they use third- party agencies that are nationally accredited to run background checks.