As part of Uber and Lyfts crusade to make driver applications easier, they requested that CA State Legislation remove the mandatory fingerprinting from their background checking process. It took a year of hard effort on behalf of Uber and Lyft to succeed in persuading the California Public Utilities Commission to vote their way.
The Taxicab, Paratransit Association, and limousine Group spokesperson Dave Sutton stated that the decision the authorities reached was a mistake, claiming that the CPUC's decision will haunt California in the future.
The decision to fingerprint an employee for taxi service is either a company or local government decision, and LA, SD, and SF all require mandatory fingerprinting for taxi driver applicants. Dave Sutton claimed that the fingerprints were crucial for full background checks and provided local law enforcement and the FBI access to applicant information. He went on to claim that all law enforcement agencies state quite emphatically that fingerprinting is a far superior checking method.
The CPUC Commissioner Liane Randolph wrote, "Although we recognize the public's familiarity with fingerprinting, we do not see that a demonstratively greater level of safety would be added over and above the current background-check protocols."
These new regulations announced on October 4th, 2017 direct ridesharing companies to perform mandatory annual driver screening through nationally accredited third-party companies. In 2016, the State lawmakers banned all ridesharing companies from employing registered sex offenders or people that were convicted of violent felony crimes.
In defense of the decision, commissions decided that background checks performed by Uber and Lyft through their third-party companies satisfy the mandated policies as set out by the commissions’ public policy for safety. They went on to state that fingerprinting was only as good as the updated databases provided by courts and law enforcement agencies. They also stated that livescan ID software negates the requirement for fingerprinting.
Uber and Lyft were pleased with the final decision, especially when considering the onerous process and discrimination against minorities when introducing fingerprinting. The also stated that the decision meets with the effectivity of the current screening process.