Uber threatens to leave Maryland over background checks

Uber may not operate in the state of Maryland after December 22, two whole days before Christmas. The Maryland Public Service Commission is deciding if Uber and Lyft need to perform fingerprint-based background checks on drivers.

Uber said it would remove the service from Maryland if the state requires fingerprint-based background checks. Lyft hasn’t indicated that they would do the same. Lyft did point out that no other state requires fingerprint-based background checks.

Lyft doesn’t operate in Hagerstown. If the rule passes, I may have to complete my application with Lyft and commute to places in Maryland they operate. That’s even if I want to continue as a ridesharing driver.

My opinion on this is mixed. My fingerprints are already on file from being in the military. I have no problem with having my fingerprints taken again.

The state contends this type of security check is required to weed out dangerous sexual offenders and other violent criminals from becoming drivers. If Maryland knows there are dangerous, violent people in the community, why don’t they go and lock them up? These people are dangerous. These people are violent. These people were evidently released from prison even though they are dangerous. Are we supposed to believe they only pose a risk when they are behind the wheel of an Uber car?

I don’t think so.

If Uber is going to do more background checks, I’d prefer they do them on passengers. If someone is a dangerous sexual offender or a violent criminal, I don’t want them in the backseat of my car.  Uber has access to sex offender registries. It wouldn’t be all that hard to run checks on people using the passenger app against these lists.

Uber should strive to make their ridesharing service even safer than it currently is. They shouldn’t fight against increased security. If I were running Uber and the state wanted fingerprint-based background checks, I’d counter with not only fingerprint checks, but a DNA sample too. I provided a DNA sample when I registered to be a bone marrow donor, and it was super easy. They run a special q-tip on the inner cheek of your mouth. That’s it.

I'm originally from southern California, but western Maryland is my home now. This is my blog. It's where I write about whatever I feel like writing about, when I feel like writing.

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