Uber and Lyft, two of the top online transportation companies in the world, pled their case before the Maryland Public Service Commission on Thursday, November 17, 2016. The state legislature passed a new regulation in 2015, enforcing drivers employed with ride-sharing companies to undergo fingerprint-based background checks. The regulations are expected to go into effect next month.
State licensed medical professional and limo and taxicab drivers are required to submit their fingerprints for a national criminal history background check. Uber and Lyft argue their private systems are adequate and the law discriminates against minorities. Both companies are spending millions to overturn the rule in New Jersey, Maryland, San Francisco, California, Houston, Texas and Miami-Dade Florida.
Uber are threatening to pull out of Maryland, if the new law is enforced. Lyft continues operating in New York, where fingerprinting is required and has not threatened to withdraw from the Maryland market.
Ride-share drivers have gotten some unwanted publicity over the past few years. In June 2014, there were two separate incidents reported, involving Uber drivers. One driver had allegedly assaulted 28-year old, James Alva from San Francisco and another allegedly kidnapped an unidentified female customer.
Another incident was reported to have occurred on September 19, 2014 in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights. Patrick Karajah, a 26-year old Uber driver was accused of assaulting a male customer after forcing him and friends out at Ellsworth Street and Alemany Boulevard. According to authorities, Karajah struck the victim on the head with a hammer, before driving away.
More recent criminal cases involving Uber drivers:
- October 14, 2016 – Uber driver, in Florida, was found guilty of running a red light, hitting a Seminole County patrol car. The 28-year old passenger, Corey Allicock died at the scene.
- June 01, 2016 – Unidentified female was struck and killed by an Uber driver in Philadelphia.
- February 22, 2016 – Connecticut Uber driver, Mohammed Ahsan, struck 68-year old Chantel Lynch near the centerline of Route 75. Lynch was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
- August 14, 2015 – the Los Angeles International Airport Police ticketed Four Uber drivers over an 18-month stint. All four drivers had felony records that would have prevented them from driving a taxicab. According to court records, the drivers had been convicted for identity theft, driving under the influence, manslaughter and child exploitation.