“Authorities said they are investigating whether Uber driver Jason Brian Dalton may have given a harrowing ride to a passenger shortly before embarking on a shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Mich., that killed six — and that they are looking into whether Dalton may have continued picking up fares in the middle of his rampage,” washingtonpost.com reports. For once, the media focus isn’t on the background check Dalton may or may not have passed to purchase a firearm. This time, for now, it’s all about Uber’s background checks . . .
Police say Dalton didn’t have a criminal history.
An Uber spokesman confirmed Dalton had been working with the company and said he had passed a background check required for drivers employed by the company. The person declined to say how long Dalton had been driving for Uber.
The incident came just weeks after Uber settled two class-action lawsuits for $28.5 million after the company was accused of exaggerating the safety of its background checks. Despite using phrases such as “safest ride on the road” and “industry-leading background checks,” the suits claimed, the company did not check drivers against the national sex-offender registry or employ fingerprint identification.
“We learned of systemic failures in Uber’s background checks,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said in reference to the lawsuits, according to Forbes. “We have learned they have drivers who are convicted sex offenders, thieves, burglars, kidnappers and a convicted murder.”
A convicted murderer? How’d that happen? Like this . . .
“The background check process that Uber and Lyft are doing follows California law,” Gascon said, according to Forbes. “The problem we have is the misleading information that is being provided by Uber.”
The company claims that seven years “strikes the right balance” between protecting the public and offering “ex-offenders the chance to work and rehabilitate themselves.”
Wait. What? Uber is claiming passenger safety and criminal rehabilitation? Not that background checks are a foolproof way to “catch” potential bad actors – whether they’re drivers, gun owners or child care workers. But if you’re going to do it, why not do it right? Squeaky clean since birth works for me, especially as one of my daughters could be an Uber passenger.
Perhaps people should have some sort of way of countering violence as it occurs, just in case these background checks fail and an Uber drivers gets all rapey or homicidal. Hmmm. Anyway, at least Uber bans drivers from carrying a firearm in their vehicle. A policy that puts drivers at risk and does nothing to prevent crazed killer Uber drivers from doing what crazed killers do.