Does Uber Really Do Background Checks?

Every time you get in a cab in San Francisco, your driver has been subjected to thorough background check by the San Francisco police department.

Also, the cab you get into has one million in insurance, and the car has to meet inspection standards.  And, the meter that sets your fare has been checked.  Those are regulations designed to protect the public, the very regulations UBER claims do not apply, because Uber is a technology company, not a transportation company.

Last year, an Uber driver named Daveea Whitmire allegedly struck a passenger in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco, which led to his being charged on June 3, 2014 by the San Francisco District Attorney’s office.

Click here to read the full article: Uber Driver Charged with Punching SF Passenger

According to the San Francisco Chronicle article, Mr. Whitmire passed Uber’s background check but records reveal he has prior convictions for drug dealing and misdemeanor battery.  In addition, the Chronicle reported in early 2014, he was charged for slamming a woman into the ground.  What exactly did Uber do by way of a background check?

When a cab driver seeks approval to drive by way of a SF police background check, they are evaluated for potential for violence as well as potential for poor driving habits, according to SF District Attorney and former San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon.  Clearly, these regulations protect the public.  They take time and cost money, two things Uber apparently has chosen to bypass in its race to the bottom line.

Uber puts a consumer in a car and makes money from every transaction.  It pays nothing for the labor, nothing for the maintenance, charges whatever it wishes (ask what the surge pricing was during the Muni sick out), and still has not told the world if every car has the minimum insurance required under the law.

And now, we can legitimately ask:

What exactly does Uber do by way of background checks?

A group of San Francisco taxi drivers, who have undergone police background checks, drive cars with meters that have regulated rates to prevent consumer gouging, have the statutorily required insurance to protect passengers as well as third parties in the event of an accident, and drive vehicles that have undergone periodic safety checks, all of which is required by law, are suing Uber on the basis it is a transportation company who has gained an unfair advantage by not complying with the law (e.g. not having insurance, not having the expense of inspecting and maintaining vehicles, or complying with other statutory requirements), and taken customers from the cabbies who are following the law. (See San Francisco Superior Court NO. CGC 12-526017)

If you would like more information on this case, please contact The Brandi Law Firm at tjb@brandilaw.com.