Capitol Alert

Late bill requires deeper background checks of Uber, Lyft drivers

In this photo taken Dec. 16, 2014, a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco.
In this photo taken Dec. 16, 2014, a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. AP

In the latest attempt to impose tougher rules on companies like Uber and Lyft, an amended California Assembly bill would require drivers to undergo broader criminal background checks.

Current standards aren’t sufficient to protect riders, argued Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, pointing out that the companies’ background checks only cover the seven-year window mandated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

“Rider safety is paramount,” Cooper said. “It’s a great service, but it needs some fine-tuning.”

Besides mandating the deeper background checks, Cooper’s Assembly Bill 1289 would prevent the ride-sharing companies from hiring or contracting with any driver with a past that includes any conviction for a violent crime, sexual offense, driving under the influence, fraud, or crime involving property damage or theft.

A different bill mandating background checks and drug testing for drivers stalled earlier this year.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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