(Updates with comment from Lyft)
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 describe 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.
"We were pleased to reach an agreement with the Baker
Administration that maintains the high safety standards we have
always observed while keeping modern transportation options like
Lyft available across the state," said Lyft spokesman Adrian
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 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.
Uber representatives could not be reached for immediate
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Alan Crosby and Andrew