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Washington Post Editorial Board Urges Fingerprinting Uber Drivers

In the wake of Maryland’s Public Service Commission granting Uber and Lyft a special waiver so their drivers aren’t mandated to undergo fingerprint background checks, the Washington Post’s editorial board has weighed in to say the companies’ arguments against fingerprinting make little sense.

In particular, the Post notes fingerprints commonly provide the public “with added protection” when hiring for sensitive positions that involve interacting with the public such as bus drivers, teachers and security guards.

The Post directly states Maryland’s public officials “buckled” in the face of threats by Uber and Lyft to leave the state. Ahead of the Maryland decision, we emphasized Uber’s threat to abandon Maryland was oft-repeated locally, never carried out, and likely empty.

The Post editorial makes an assertion that lies at the cornerstone of our campaign: “Given reports nationally that some gig drivers have assaulted passengers, fingerprinting makes sense as an added measure to protect the public.”

It’s just that simple.

The volume of reported incidents of Uber and Lyft drivers hurting passengers—which we firmly believe to be the tip of an iceberg—demonstrate the need for improved passenger safety.  And law enforcement generally regard fingerprints as the gold standard of background checks, notes the Post.

In summary, the Post board recommends implementing both the companies’ biographic (or private) background checks and those involving fingerprinting conducted by law enforcement.  In so doing, the Post’s recommendations somewhat mirror those of industry expert, Bruce Shaller, whose recent report urges both “forward-looking” systems (such as electronic monitoring of drivers) and “backward-looking” methods (fingerprint-based background checks) as a best practice.

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