As the vote to determine whether or not transportation network companies can legally operate in the state of New York approaches, numerous concerns about their safety practices have been raised. The city of Austin, Texas already chased away these companies by asking them to fingerprint check their drivers. The question to ask yourself before June 16, the date when proper licensing will be required TNCs in New York State: is a company like Uber or Lyft safe for my community?
The Case Against Transportation Network Companies
The main complaint about transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft is that their background check processes are too lax to ensure that their drivers are fit to transport passengers.
Crimes Committed by Uber and Lyft Drivers
Earlier this year in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, Jason Dalton, an Uber driver who successfully passed a background check, allegedly shot and killed six people, and wounded more, while picking up customers. During his trial, in which he was charged with six counts of murder, among other things, Dalton was escorted out of court following an outburst during the testimony of one of his surviving victims.
On March 8, in Austin, Texas, a Lyft driver named Allen Edmonds was arrested for driving drunk with a passenger in the car. Edmonds was visibly drunk to the point that the passenger was going to ask him to stop, but the police actually stopped him before the passenger could do so.
It turns out that Edmonds had another DUI on his record, but was convicted 12 years prior. Lyft’s background checks only dig seven years into the past.
In Gaithersburg, Maryland, Uber driver Jonathan Hemming was charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder and other violent charges after attempting to shoot at police with a homemade handgun. Hemming had two outstanding arrest warrants for drug-related crimes and was being surveilled by detectives, yet still transported passengers. Uber did not comment on how Hemming, who has an extensive criminal record according to WJLA, managed to pass their background check procedures.
There are far too many criminal incidents involving drivers for transportation network companies to list. Companies like Uber and Lyft are, evidently, not concerned with preserving the safety of the communities in which they operate.