Everyone who wants to drive with Uber must undergo a screening process that includes a driving and criminal history check. We verify records at the source where they are updated most frequently to get the most accurate information. The Maryland Public Service Commission concluded that our background checks meet a similar standard as fingerprint-based checks.
The FBI acknowledges that more than half of the records in its fingerprint database do not include final disposition. If someone is arrested and acquitted, his or her “record” may not reflect that. Our country’s imbalance of arrest rates means people of color bear the brunt of this inequity. The NAACP says it is critical to remove discriminatory barriers to work, including fingerprinting, that have no impact on safety. Former attorney general Eric Holder said that fingerprinting was designed to generate leads for law enforcement, not determine work eligibility.
The editorial cited fingerprinting in Houston as evidence this burden is “minimal” and said arguments against it are “specious.” But some 20,000 who had already passed Uber’s background check declined to undergo the city’s required fingerprint process, saying it was too complex and costly. Houston now has an insufficient number of drivers to meet demand for rides, meaning higher prices and longer wait times. Recognizing this, Houston has taken positive steps toward streamlining driver requirements.
Smart regulations combined with technology can provide safety and more work opportunities for more people.
Rachel Holt, Washington
The writer is regional general manager for the United States and Canada for Uber.