A woman sits in the back of a rideshare car while researching Lyft and Uber background check disqualifiers.

Uber and Lyft Background Check Disqualifiers

By Levin Simes
June 12, 2024

Thorough background checks are essential for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. Only trustworthy drivers should be hired due to the enclosed nature of the vehicles, the control drivers’ have over passengers, the potential for drivers to learn passengers’ home locations, and the risk of rideshare car accidents

Passengers shouldn’t have to worry about the reliability of their driver. That responsibility falls on the companies, who should have conducted proper inspections well in advance. Despite the presence of Lyft and Uber background check disqualifiers, some unsavory individuals have managed to slip through the cracks and become drivers. 

If you were injured in a rideshare incident, Levin Simes is here for you. Our women-led firm is paving the way for justice and accountability in these situations. Contact us online or call (415) 426-3000 to learn about your legal options. 

What Does Uber Look for in a Background Check?

While Uber advertises itself as a platform where people can become their own boss while earning a substantial income, this convenience for potential drivers may come at the cost of passenger safety. 

To drive for Uber, an individual must meet the following minimum requirements: 

  • Meet the minimum age to drive in the city
  • Possess an in-state driver’s license
  • Have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the US (3 years if you are under 25 years old)
  • Use an eligible 4-door vehicle

In addition to these base conditions, Uber also outlines car requirements, such as: 

  • 16-year-old vehicle or newer
  • 4-door vehicle
  • Good condition with no cosmetic damage
  • No commercial branding

While meeting basic criteria like having a license, being of a certain age, and having a safe vehicle is important, it’s the effectiveness of the background check that truly matters for passenger well-being, as they delve into the driver’s criminal history and past conduct.  

How Does Uber Vet Their Drivers?

The driver screening is the most in-depth step of the application process, in which Uber reviews the applicant’s driving record and criminal history. If the company uncovers serious offenses or violations, this could disqualify the applicant from joining as a driver. 

Certain driving violations that may bar an applicant from becoming a driver for Uber include:

  • The applicant has three or more moving violations (expired tags, running a red light, speeding violations) within the last three years
  • The driver was convicted of a DUI or other drug-related driving violation in the last seven years
  • A conviction for reckless driving
  • A major driving offense within the last seven years, such as a hit-and-run or other felony involving a vehicle

Does Uber Hire Felons?

On top of inspecting driving records, Uber conducts a criminal background check using a third party like Checkr, HireRight, and Samba Safety. Uber background check disqualifiers include: 

  • Murder 
  • Sexual assault
  • Terrorism-related offenses
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated assault
  • Human trafficking 
While these background checks are a step in the right direction, Uber and Lyft have still made headlines for reports of sexual assault against passengers by drivers, indicating that more measures may be needed to protect passengers.

Levin Simes is at the forefront of rideshare sexual assault litigation, proudly fighting for survivors nationwide. Contact us online or call (415) 426-3000 to tell us your story.

What Does Lyft Look For In A Background Check

The age requirement to drive for Lyft ranges from 21 to 25, depending on the region. Similar to Uber, Lyft drivers must have:

  • Current and valid driver’s license
  • Valid plates with current registration
  • One year of licensed driving experience in certain states
  • A four-door vehicle with a minimum of five seatbelts 

Also, like Uber, all potential Lyft drivers must undergo a background check. Understanding these disqualifiers helps us to answer the question: does Lyft hire felons?

Lyft background check disqualifiers resemble many of Uber’s and include: 

  • A disqualifying violent crime (such as homicide, kidnapping, human trafficking, arson, burglary, carjacking, robbery, or aggravated assault)
  • A sexual offense (such as rape, sexual assault, or child pornography)
  • An act of terror
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the past seven years (time frame may vary based on regional jurisdictions)
  • A disqualifying fraud-related offense in the past seven years 
  • A disqualifying drug-related offense in the past seven years 
  • A disqualifying theft or property damage offense in the past seven years 

The timeframes for fraud, drug, theft, or property damage offenses may differ based on regional jurisdictions. Furthermore, if someone is listed on the National Sex Offender Registry database, they are ineligible to drive for Uber or Lyft. 

Rideshare pick up sign.

Shortcomings of Uber and Lyft Background Check Disqualifiers

Despite claiming robust background checks, Uber and Lyft have been criticized for approving drivers with criminal records that should have disqualified them. For example, a CNN investigation revealed instances where both companies allowed individuals with serious offenses to become drivers, such as assault and firearm possession convictions. 

This alleged lax screening process raises serious safety concerns, especially given the number of reported sexual assaults by drivers. Uber’s 2022 annual safety report documented 3,824 sexual assault claims between 2019 and 2020 alone.

Bar chart on reported cases in Uber's five categories of sexual assault for 2019 and 2020.

Meanwhile, Lyft received 4,158 sexual assault reports from 2017 to 2019. These numbers highlight a disturbing trend and suggest that current background check procedures may not be effective in preventing violence against passengers. 

Levin Simes Is Dedicated to Supporting Sexual Assault Survivors

Many have filed lawsuits alleging rideshare companies have failed to enforce strict enough background checks, leaving millions of riders vulnerable to horrific situations, such as sexual assault or deadly car accidents

Levin Simes serves as lead counsel in rideshare sexual assault litigation, securing settlements for over 500 survivors and counting. Our women-led team has decades of combined experience that we use to confront large corporations like Uber and Lyft. Contact us online or call (415) 426-3000 to see if you qualify for a claim. 

Related Resources

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