BOSTON Nov 28 Massachusetts next year will
require ride service companies including Uber and Lyft to
perform the strictest background checks in the United States on
all of their drivers, according to a deal reached with the
companies on Monday.
The new rules would require the companies ensure that the
independent drivers who provide taxi-like services pass state
background checks, including their criminal records, and require
that they not be registered sex offenders, state officials said.
"The safety and security of the riding public is our top
priority, and I am pleased this agreement will set a national
standard for the most comprehensive state background checks for
TNC drivers in the country," said Governor Charlie Baker, using
an acronym for "transportation network companies," the label
Massachusetts uses to described Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft and
The rules require that the companies begin the background
checks for all drivers operating in the state by Jan. 6 and
complete them by April 3. That is a year earlier than they would
have been mandated by a state law on ride-sharing companies
passed this summer.
Existing taxi companies have complained that the services,
which allow riders to use smartphone apps to summon drivers, are
able to undercut their prices because by they are not bound by
strict local licensing and safety rules.
An Uber driver in Kalamazoo, Michigan, earlier this year was
charged with killing six people in a shooting spree.
Representatives for the two companies could not be reached
for immediate comment. Local media, however, reported that both
said they supported the deal.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Alan Crosby)