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Lyft, Uber Drivers May Face Fingerprint Background Checks

Elvert Barnes Photography
Flickr -
File photo. A proposal in the Washington Legislature would require drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft to pass a fingerprint background check before being allowed to operate.

Uber and Lyft drivers may soon have to undergo tougher background checks in Washington state. Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require drivers to pass a fingerprint background check before being allowed to operate.

James McMahan is the policy director for the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. He told state Representatives that requiring drivers to provide their fingerprints would ensure passenger safety. ??

“I can give you any name and date of birth that I choose out of thin air or because it’s my friends,” McMahan said. “But I can only give you my fingerprint.”

But Lyft public policy manager Laura Bisesto testified the company already does background checks that track both arrests and convictions through public records. ??

“Our comprehensive check which is done by a nationally accredited organization goes to the source of an arrest and gives an accurate picture of a prospective driver’s background,” she said. ??Bisestos said the FBI fingerprint database does not provide conviction information half the time.

Some cities like Seattle already require taxi drivers to pass a fingerprint background check, but that’s not required for Uber or Lyft drivers.