Maryland Public Service Commission approves background check waiver for Uber, Lyft

Posted at 2:12 PM, Dec 22, 2016

Drivers for ride-share companies including Uber and Lyft will not have to undergo fingerprinting requirements, the Maryland Public Service Commission ruled Thursday. 

The PSC said it has approved an alternative background check for the companies, who had argued that the checks they already use are more accurate. 

Uber had threatened to leave the state if the fingerprinting requirement was not waived. 

RELATED: Uber's controversial history in Maryland

The ruling, however, includes additional safety requirements for transportation network companies.

They include:

  • Companies must rerun background checks on all drivers annually;
  • Any background check provider used must be audited and accredited by the Background Screening Credentialing Council of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners; 
  • If a company plans to contract with a different background check provider or makes significant changes to its background check process it must provide notice in writing 60 days in advance to the Commission;
  • With each driver application submitted to the Commission, the company must provide written certification that it has verified the identity of an applicant;  
  • Companies must require drivers to agree to report arrests and convictions to them within three business days. The Companies must then promptly report to the Commission any deactivations that result;
  •  Companies must look back through the entire adult history of its applicants for convictions in Maryland and, where possible, convictions in other jurisdictions; 
  • The Commission may order companies to revisit a background check of any driver the Commission believes may need to have their criminal history reexamined;
  • Companies must require drivers to agree to return the company’s trade dress (car decals, etc.) if they become permanently deactivated; 
  • Annual reports to the Commission, Commission staff and the Office of People’s Counsel, on the companies' operations under the alternative background check, including information on safety-related complaints, changes to internal background check processes, driver deactivations and the total number of active drivers.

Each company will have 10 business days to accept the modifications, or else the waiver requests will be denied. 

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