BEALE
Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale

Uber, Lyft and Fingerprints: This Blog’s for Beale

A year and a half ago, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale announced he had the votes to require that Uber and Lyft drivers undergo fingerprint-based criminal background checks to drive in the city.

Beale was going to do it.

Uber’s lobbyists and Mayor Rahm Emanuel went on high alert to prevent this from happening. Ultimately, after much tussling, Beale agreed to wait six months (or so) until a University of Illinois at Chicago study could independently determine whether or not Uber and Lyft drivers should undergo fingerprinting.

Six months passed: no study.

A year passed: no study.

Finally, Beale demanded to see it. And now it’s arrived.

Two things grab your attention about this study, which was just released by the Emanuel administration.

The first is: It is reportedly six pages long.

One, two, three, four, five, six.

Wonder if that includes footnotes?

The second thing is: It doesn’t address fingerprinting at all.

Beale declared himself “speechless” upon receipt of the document.

In side-stepping fingerprinting, the anticipated study reportedly mealy mouths something along the lines of “other studies had looked at background check systems for each of the industries.”

Wonder if the report’s findings were inconvenient?

Hmm.

You know what, Mr. Beale? Forget reports.

In the intervening period since the University of Illinois at Chicago report was commissioned there now exists bulletproof data grounded in reality from two states: Maryland and Massachusetts.

Maryland recently declared it’s rejected almost 15% of a batch of 24,608 already approved Uber and Lyft drivers because of disqualifying criminal histories and driving records.

Maryland conducts what it calls “supplemental” government background checks of Uber and Lyft drivers. Tori Leonard, spokesperson for the Maryland regulator, stated: “The fact that we are rejecting a significant number on secondary review demonstrates a solid justification for our supplemental review process, which is above and beyond what most other states do.”

Massachusetts previously announced its own supplemental government background check of approved Uber and Lyft drivers rejected more than 8,200 of 71,000 driver applications.

Bottom line: Maryland and Massachusetts have conducted government background checks on approved Uber and Lyft drivers and rejected them by the thousands in order to protect the passenger public.

This is the best proof anyone could ask for.

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