Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission has fined Uber approximately $8.9 million for their employment of drivers with a history of criminal activities.
USA Today reports that the Public Utilities ccommission of Colorado has fined ride-sharing app Uber $8.9 million after it was discovered that the company had hired multiple drivers with serious criminal pasts. Colorado officials claim that as many as 57 Uber drivers have been operating in the state over the past year despite having felony convictions or major moving convictions. Some of the drivers were even driving passengers around the city despite having a revoked or canceled driver’s license.
Uber does reportedly perform background checks on all drivers, but it was determined by the state of Colorado that Uber allowed drivers to continue operating under the Uber name despite being in possession of information that should have disqualified them. Uber was reportedly only made aware of the fine when Colorado officials announced it in a press release. Uber has stated that they would be willing to pay 50 percent of the fine in the next ten days or they will be forced to contest the fine.
Uber released a statement on the issue saying, “We recently discovered a process error that was inconsistent with Colorado’s ridesharing regulations and proactively notified the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.” The statement continued, “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 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. “These actions put the safety of passengers in extreme jeopardy.”
The Colorado commission’s inquiry into Uber began shortly after police in the town of Vail alerted state officials of an assault on an Uber passenger by a driver. The commission then cross-referenced Uber driver records with the state criminal records and discovered that 12 Uber drivers were working for the company despite having felony convictions and another 17 had previously been cited for major infractions such as driving under the influence and reckless driving.
Uber also reportedly failed to catch drivers using fake names, 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,” the press release stated. “Nevertheless, after he was released from prison, he became a driver for Uber.”
The full press release can be found here.