ALBANY, N.Y. -- With ridesharing likely to make the New York State budget when it passes, Channel 2 is looking next to passenger safety.
We know companies like Uber and Lyft require background checks, but some critics say they don't go far enough.
According to the Boston Globe, the state of Massachusetts requires drivers to pass a two-part background check: the one by the companies and a more in-depth one by the state.
The Globe reported that nearly 8,000 potential drivers who passed the company screening failed the state screening, revealing criminal records including things like drunk driving arrests and sexual offenses.
The main difference, according to the Globe, is that company screening only went seven years back, but the state screening had no limit.
"All indications are background checks are going to be required. They can be conducted by UBER, or Lyft, or a third party,” said local Assemblyman Ray Walter, who has been a vocal Western New York politician in terms of legalizing the industry for upstate New York.
However, he acknowledges he has not been provided the fine print yet, and basically, how much scrutiny New York will require is still unclear.
An UBER spokesperson says the scrutiny of a background check may vary between states, but it typically uses a third party company called “Checkr.”
Checkr is an accredited screening company among two national screen associations, and it searches national criminal databases, sex offender registries, terrorist watch lists, motor vehicle records, and civil records.
But since ridesharing is not technically legal here yet, UBER can't say with certainty what a company background check for a Western New York driver might look like.
"The extent of those background checks and what those involve are going to be in regulation written by the DMV, so they're going to have to live up to those strict standards,” Assemblyman Walter said.
A possible budget agreement last week showed the Department of Motor Vehicles would regulate the industry. An UBER spokesperson said Wednesday night that background checks in upstate and Western New York would be done in whatever way a new state law requires.
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