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Proposal would augment background checks for ride-share drivers

One of three enhancements would require companies to provide proof of screening drivers to the agency annually

A proposal to strengthen background checks for ride-share drivers released Oct. 6 could considered by the California Public Utilities Commission as early as next month, CPUC officials said.

The proposal sets forth three enhancements.

First, it requires that the background check companies that ride-sharing companies use to check the backgrounds of their drivers be accredited by the Background Screening Credentialing Council of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners.

Second, each ride-sharing company must get proof that their background screening company is accredited and provide that to the CPUC.

Third, a background screening for each driver must be done at least once a year for as long as the driver is driving for a ride-share company and each ride-sharing company must prove to the CPUC that it's screening its drivers each year.

The proposal fails to require a ride-sharing company to conduct a biometric background check on its drivers, which would include among other requirements fingerprints and documentation of other personal traits.

Commission officials said requiring a biometric check would not improve safety beyond the current safety requirements.

The newly proposed requirements would augment three, which are already in place.

Those include a requirement that a ride-sharing company or another company working on behalf of a ride-sharing company conduct a search of a multi-state or multi-jurisdictional criminal records database or similar database as well as a search of the U.S. Department of Justice's National Sex Offender public website.

A ride-sharing company may not employ, contract with or retain a driver on the National Sex Offender website or among other offenses, who has been convicted of a violent felony.

A ride-sharing company cannot employ, contract with or retain a driver who was convicted of among other offenses, misdemeanor assault or battery, a domestic violence offense, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and a felony violation of the Elections Code.

The earliest the CPUC board would vote on the proposal is Nov. 9.

Residents can read a copy of the proposal here.

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