Editorial: Uber and Lyft should have stronger background checks for their drivers

Caroline Diem, Reporter

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After a long day at work, it’s hard to keep from falling asleep. A young woman got into an Uber and expected to be driven back to her house, an hour away. Her Uber driver Harbir Parmar had other plans. The lady fell asleep and woke up being sexually assaulted and was dumped on the Interstate an hour away from home. Many questions were had about what it takes to become a driver for Uber and Lyft and the reliability of the companies.

The requirements to become a driver for rideshare companies should be stronger.

3.9 million drivers around the country and 91 million passengers use Uber. Uber and Lyft have many supporters and opponents. Accounts of people being harassed, kidnapped, and murdered have surfaced online leaving people questioning the safety of the rides.

Having a long list of requirements may not solve all of the problems, but companies attempt to select great people for their services. To become a driver for Uber, a person must have a driver’s license, a four door vehicle, a clean driving record, pass a background check, and other requirements. Great lengths are taken to make sure that drivers are fit for the job, but there is still a debate for the security of passengers.

Lyft has similar requirements. Some conditions needed are to be twenty-one, have a driver’s license, a four door vehicle, license plate, pass a background check, have a clean driving record, and an iPhone 5s or later or an Android.

A solution to dangerous drivers are mental health screenings. People who do harmful things usually have a history of mental health issues. If there was testing to make sure they’re mentally stable, the chances of attacks are lower.

Another way to check the employees would be an over the phone interview. Since it would be difficult to talk to people in person, an over the phone interview would allow someone to hear the person and use their judgement to tell if they are a good applicant.

On the other hand, being similar to taxi drivers, Uber and Lyft drivers are twenty times more likely to be hurt by a person than another job. Every year almost 1.25 million people die on the road. Making an average of 3,287 deaths a day.

A precaution is that a camera should be required for an Uber driver to work. This provides safety to both the passenger and the driver. In the event that someone gets hurt, there will be evidence of an attack.

“When you get into a taxi, there’s a reason there’s plexiglass between you and the driver,” Harry Campbell from the blog, “The Rideshare Guy.”

Precautions should be taken to protect the driver like setting up plexiglass, or some form of separation between the passenger and the driver.

Contact Uber here, and Lyft here to make a change for the safety of its users.