Uber’s legal troubles continue to haunt its past, present, and its future. The company has been hit with a fine of $8.9 million by Colorado for allowing unqualified drivers on its platform, Reuters reports. Colorado states that Uber didn’t vet its drivers properly and allowed individuals with disqualifying criminal or motor vehicle offenses, and invalid driver licenses to drive for the company. Uber in its defense blamed an “error” in its background check process for the bad drivers it allowed in its program.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) said that it probed violations of 12 drivers with felony convictions, 17 drivers with major moving-vehicle violations, and three drivers that had a type of driver’s license that was required only after a recent drunk-driving conviction. The commission added that Uber’s background checking process failed to identify a number of aliases used by these drivers, including one driver that was “a convicted felon, habitual offender, and at one point in his past had escaped from the Colorado Department of Corrections.” After he was released, he started driving for Uber.
Uber was cited $2,500 a day for each day a disqualified driver worked for the company. “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,” Doug Dean, the commission’s director, said in a statement. “PUC staff was able to find felony convictions that the company’s background checks failed to find, demonstrating that the company’s background checks are inadequate. In other cases, we could not confirm criminal background checks were even conducted by Uber.”
Uber in its defense says that it discovered a “process error that was inconsistent with Colorado’s ride-sharing regulations and proactively notified the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). 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 will continue to work closely with the CPUC to enable access to safe, reliable transportation options for all Coloradans.” When asked if Uber was planning to pay the fine, the company spokesperson said that they are “evaluating” their options.