January 30, 2015 By Wallin & Klarich

In 2010, American entrepreneur Travis Kalanick founded the ride-sharing app, Uber. Today, Uber is used in over 50 countries and 250 cities worldwide and is valued to be worth a whopping $41.2 billion. The road to Uber’s success, however, has not come without a few speedbumps.

Most recently, Uber has found itself in a tense legal battle regarding the regulations required of its drivers compared to the rigorous necessities required to drive a taxicab.

Alleged Uber Driver Criminal Activity Places Company in Hot Water

Uber Driver RapeIn the past few months, Uber drivers throughout the world have been accused of committing a variety of criminal acts. Last month in Boston, a driver was arrested for allegedly raping, kidnapping and assaulting a female passenger in his vehicle. In the same month, an Uber driver in New Delhi, India, who had already been arrested for rape twice in the past, was arrested yet again for raping a female passenger. In September, a San Francisco Uber driver was placed under arrest after he allegedly struck a passenger in the head with a clawed hammer and fractured the alleged victim’s skull.

As a result of the recent accusations – presumably due to the lack of regulations for drivers- several governments around the globe have begun to ban Uber from operating within their jurisdictions. These jurisdictions include: Nevada, Portland, Germany, France, New Delhi, the Netherlands, Thailand, Brussels, Toronto and Spain. According to the Daily Journal, several other states, including California, are considering similar action.

Are Uber’s Requirements Up to Par?

Many of Uber’s critics have pointed to the recent surge in driver misconduct as examples of what can happen when a company fails to have adequate employee screening procedures in place. Despite claims made by Uber that they conduct “industry-leading” background checks, critics argue that there does not appear to be much evidence to support the assertion.

In order to become a driver for Uber, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • He/she must have a 2004 or newer car
  • He/she must possess an auto insurance policy
  • He/she must possess a valid driver’s license
  • He/she must submit to the online background check
  • He/she must watch a short video on how the Uber app works

In comparison, to become a taxicab driver in San Francisco, however, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Taxi vs UberHe/she must attend a seven-hour class, followed by an extensive exam administered by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)
  • He/she must appear personally for an interview by the SFMTA
  • He/she must submit to a Live Scan examination (an electronic fingerprinting process that searches databases maintained by the Department of Justice and the FBI for prior criminal activity)
  • He/she must submit a 10-year printout of the applicant’s DMV driving record

As you can see, the disparities in what is required to become an Uber driver versus what is required to become a taxi driver are evident.

Wallin & Klarich Wants to Hear From You

Do you think the reason for the recent increase in Uber driver misconduct can be attributed to how easy it is to become a driver? What steps do you think should be taken to protect Uber passengers? Do taxi drivers have a valid reason to be upset?

We would love to hear your opinion on this very hot topic. Please feel free to chime in in the comment section below.

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