Local Uber drivers: Background checks required

Local drivers for Uber, the ride-sharing service, said they were required to undergo background and vehicle checks before they could begin driving for the company.

Questions about Uber’s screening practices surfaced after Jason Brian Dalton, 45, who drives for the company in Kalamazoo, Mich., allegedly went on a shooting spree over the weekend killing six people and wounding two others.

Dalton was charged Monday with six counts of murder, two counts of assault and other charges.

Uber allows drivers to use their personal cars, unlike taxi drivers, to transport passengers. It has more than 1,200 drivers in the Dayton area, according to the company. Drivers are dispatched through a smartphone app to pick up passengers who request the service through the app.

Derick Williams, 28, from Huber Heights has been an Uber driver since July. Williams submitted his applications though a an online app.

“Uber asks you to submit your information for a background check,” Williams said. “It can take up to three weeks.”

The background check includes an examination of the applicant’s driver’s license and driving record, vehicle documentation, criminal records and a sex offender registry. Drivers are rejected if they have been found guilty of OVI.

Once an applicant passes the check, they are able to download the partner app, which enables the driver to accept ride requests.

Dalton had no criminal record, authorities in Kalamazoo said after his arrest.

Local governments set their own standards for ride-sharing services like Uber until the Ohio legislature passed a law in December to give the authority to the state.

Statewide regulations will go into effect in March and will include similar rules established by cities like Dayton. The state however will no longer require ride-sharing drivers to undergo mandatory fingerprinting.

Uber also requires driver’s cars to have certain features.

“The car has to have four doors,” said Sonequa Cunigan, who has been driving for Uber for seven months.

Dayton area Uber users said their experiences have been positive.

“It is convenient to use when you’re going to an event that has limited parking,” said Ebony Davenport, 24, of Dayton.

When users are matched with a driver, the driver’s name and license plate number appear on the app.

The make, model, and the color of the driver’s vehicle is also listed.

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