The Massachusetts House and Senate have approved new legislation concerning the certification of Uber and Lyft drivers, and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans has gone public with his concerns about their lack of any requirement for a fingerprint-based background check.
While the regulations require Uber and Lyft drivers to be officially certified and to have their driver histories vetted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, they don’t mandate the kind of biometric background checks required for cab drivers in the state. Numerous cities and states that have sought to impose such requirements have seen the ride-hailing companies shut down their services, though there are cases in which they have acceded to such demands, as in the major market of New York City.
Speaking to media, Commissioner Evans asserted that biometric background checks can help to weed out drivers with criminal histories, and suggested that Uber and Lyft have resisted regulations imposing such measures because “they’re all about profit.” Referring to the political component of the issue, Evans explained, “I have no skin in the game here, other than making sure people are safe.”
The matter now rests with Governor Charlie Baker, who has not yet offered any indication as to whether he will approve the legislation. But even if he does sign it into law, a taxi and limousine coalition called Ride Safe Massachusetts has indicated that it plans to fight for legislation that will mandate biometric background checks for all hired drivers in the state.
Sources: Boston Herald, CBS Boston, Boston.com
August 12th, 2016 – by Alex Perala