BOSTON — There is a new push to protect passengers and strengthen requirements for drivers for rideshares like Uber and Lyft. One of the charges would be to add fingerprinting for rideshare drivers.
“You can’t fudge a fingerprint. You can only be you with a fingerprint and we think it’s the last leg that has to be closed. We think it’s a loophole,” said Scott Solombrino of Ride Safe Massachusetts.
Closing that loophole is an immense concern and the livery service owner thinks it’s exactly what’s needed to curb violent encounters, Solombrino said.
In 2016, that proposal was rejected by state lawmakers, but after a rape charge against Uber driver Mayanja Daudah along Storrow Drive this weekend, state Rep. Michael Moran, a Brighton Democrat, said enough is enough.
“After Uber did their background check, we caught another 30,000 — a full 15 percent of drivers that they didn’t catch — some with serious stuff on their record. This would be the next step,” Moran said.
Rideshare Services Uber and Lyft are against fingerprinting, saying their current background checks are already rigorous enough.
In a statement, Uber said in part: “Our third-party provider screens driving and criminal records through local, state and national databases to check for any disqualifying offenses.”
A statement from Lyft reads: “In Massachusetts, drivers undergo a rigorous two-tiered background check process, including a state-run check, before driving on the platform.”
Both rideshare companies also say fingerprinting is far from foolproof, and that FBI data doesn’t always show what happens following an initial arrest.
“Look, can somebody be crazy and be a driver? Sure. We can’t necessarily regulate for that,” Solombrino said. “But you can certainly cut down and mitigate for it and hope that you’re hiring the right people that will be able to pass background checks properly.”
Fingerprinting is required for Boston cab drivers, and New York City requires it for rideshare drivers.