DENVER (CBS4)– Uber has been fined nearly $9 million for violations of driver qualifications laws by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Those included drivers with felony and drunk driving convictions.
The PUC issued the fine to the parent company of the ride-sharing business,Rasier LLC, on Monday for “allowing individuals with disqualifying criminal or motor vehicle offenses, or without valid licenses, to drive for the company.”
The violations involve 57 Uber drivers over the past 1½ years that should not have been permitted to drive for the company. Rasier was cited $2,500 a day for each day a disqualified driver was found to have worked.
The violations came to light after police in Vail investigated an Uber driver who had allegedly assaulted a passenger. During the investigation it was revealed that Uber allowed people to drive with previous felony convictions, major moving violations, including DUI, DWI, reckless driving, driving under restraint, and numerous instances of individuals driving with suspended, revoked or cancelled driver’s licenses.
“We have determined that Uber had background check information that should have disqualified these drivers under the law, but they were allowed to drive anyway,” PUC Director Doug Dean said in a statement. “These actions put the safety of passengers in extreme jeopardy.”
According to Colorado law, Uber or any other company classified as a Transportation Network Company, “must perform a criminal history record check prior to allowing a person to act as a driver for the company. The company must also obtain and review a driving history report for individuals before they are allowed to drive. Drivers must have a valid driver’s license.”
PUC also claims that Uber’s background checks also failed to identify a number of aliases used by their drivers, including one driver who was a convicted felon, habitual offender, and at one point in his past had escaped from the Colorado Department of Corrections. Nevertheless, after he was released from prison, he became a driver for Uber.
Uber released this statement to CBS4: “We recently discovered a process error that was inconsistent with Colorado’s ridesharing regulations and proactively notified the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). This error affected a small number of drivers and we immediately took corrective action. Per Uber safety policies and Colorado state regulations, drivers with access to the Uber app must undergo a nationally accredited third party background screening. We will continue to work closely with the CPUC to enable access to safe, reliable transportation options for all Coloradans.”