Bill to Protect Safety of Passengers Utilizing Ride-Sharing Services Sent to Governor

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 1289, authored by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) would require Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft to complete comprehensive criminal background checks for their drivers. The bill was approved on a 60-4 bipartisan vote today by the California State Assembly.

Currently, the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates TNCs, doesn't require TNCs to conduct thorough background checks which capture an individual's complete criminal history.

"As a father of four daughters, I don't want my children being picked up by a driver convicted of murder or rape," said Cooper. "AB 1289 will uncover the complete criminal history of prospective drivers and would help ensure the safety of riders utilizing TNCs."

Last year, District Attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco uncovered 25 participating TNC drivers with convictions for murder, assault, driving under the influence (DUI), and other criminal offenses.

AB 1289 would require a TNC to conduct comprehensive criminal background checks for each participating driver to include local, state, and federal law enforcement records.

The bill would prohibit a TNC from contracting with, employing or continuing to retain a driver if he or she is a registered sex offender or has been convicted of any violent crime, assault, domestic violence, or DUI.

The bill would hold TNCs accountable by imposing a fine of up to $5,000 for hiring a driver with a prohibited offense.

AB 1289 has been sent to the Governor for consideration.