Rideshare companies have a lot on the line when it comes to hiring safe drivers. Looking at hiring practices at companies like Uber and Lyft gives you an inside glimpse at how these companies work to protect riders from harm and themselves from liability.
Despite the precautions Uber and Lyft take, rideshare companies make it into their fair share of news headlines, and this coverage is rarely good. From deadly car accidents to drivers sexually assaulting passengers, there’s more than one way to end up injured after ordering a ride on your phone.
If you’re harmed as a result of an Uber or Lyft ride, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover compensation. Rideshare hiring requirements are fairly strict, but they are not enough to protect every passenger from harm.
The Rideshare Hiring Process
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft know they assume a lot of liability by allowing passengers to order rides from strangers off the internet. If you’ve never thought about how rideshare companies keep their passengers safe, you might have the perception that anyone can drive for Uber or Lyft. However, that’s far from the case.
Rideshare drivers go through a multi-step hiring process. Once accepted, Uber and Lyft drivers work as independent contractors. This means they don’t have to submit a standard job application showing their work history, and they can work when it’s convenient for them.
While flexibility might be convenient for drivers, it’s not always great for passengers. Not anyone can work for Uber or Lyft, but these companies don’t require any specific driving experience beyond holding a license for at least a year.
Uber and Lyft have few significant differences in their hiring policies. When it comes to finding drivers, both companies separate their hiring criteria into three basic sections: vehicle requirements, driver requirements, and insurance requirements.
Vehicle Requirements For Uber and Lyft Drivers
Have you ever noticed that your rideshare vehicle is never dented or falling apart? The fact that rideshare vehicles are usually fairly new and in good condition doesn’t happen by accident.
Before a potential Uber or Lyft driver can begin the hiring process, their vehicle must pass the rideshare company’s vehicle requirements checklist.
The most important elements on the list require that the vehicle:
- Be in good condition with no obvious signs of damage
- Has four doors
- Has a valid registration
- Does not bear advertising
Each company does have a few unique requirements for vehicles. Uber requires that cars pass a vehicle inspection, be 16 years old or newer, and have an in-state license plate. Lyft requires that cars are 15 years old or newer and have between five and eight seats.
Uber and Lyft Hiring Requirements For Drivers
Anyone who uses rideshare vehicles knows that drivers can run the gamut. People from a variety of backgrounds and with an array of personality types sit behind the wheel of Uber and Lyft rides.
Both Uber and Lyft set requirements for drivers, as well as their driving record and criminal background. Lyft requires that all drivers be at least 25 years old and have at least a year of driving experience.
Uber doesn’t set an age limit on drivers. Instead, they require that all drivers have held a license for at least a year, while drivers under age 25 have held one for at least three years.
Taking a look at how Uber and Lyft vet their drivers helps passengers understand how these companies work to keep riders safe — and why background checks alone aren’t always enough.
Driving Record Background Checks
Both Uber and Lyft have fairly strict requirements regarding driving records. Both rideshare companies run background checks on the driving records of all applicants. Generally speaking, involvement in any car accident in the past seven years will prevent a driver from being hired.
DUIs and other serious driving violations older than seven years might also stop a company from hiring a driver.
Rideshare companies even consider moving violations during the application process. Moving violations are driving offenses that result in a ticket but aren’t a crime and don’t involve a crash. Examples include driving with expired tags, running a red light, and speeding.
Rideshare companies don’t hire drivers if their driving record shows three or more moving violations in the past three years.
Criminal Background Checks
In addition to checking driving records, both Uber and Lyft require criminal background checks for all applicants. Drivers listed in the National Sex Offender Registry are automatically disqualified from either company.
Uber and Lyft don’t hire drivers whose background checks show a conviction for:
- Sex crimes
- Terror crimes
- Aggravated assault
For less serious convictions in the past seven years, neither company hires individuals whose background check shows:
- Driving under the influence
- Drug-related offenses
- Property damage
Both rideshare companies have dealt with driver safety in the past and have adjusted their policies accordingly. Now, both companies require annual background checks and run continuous background monitoring on drivers. They also ask drivers to undergo identity verification to ensure they are who they claim to be.
While both Uber and Lyft continue to update their policies to better protect passengers, their vetting systems are not perfect.
Neither company requires drug testing, so it’s impossible to know whether your driver is under the influence. Both criminal and driving background checks only show reported offenses. Just because a driver has a clean background on paper doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve never been in an accident or committed a crime.
Injured While Using a Rideshare in Chicago, IL? Know Your Legal Options
Uber and Lyft have strict insurance requirements to help ensure that drivers are adequately covered if an accident happens. If adequate injury compensation isn’t available through a driver’s policy, both companies carry generous supplemental coverage. However, accessing this money is rarely easy.
If you’ve been involved in an Uber accident or a Lyft accident, you can recover the compensation you deserve. However, getting a rideshare company to pay fairly can be hard without a Chicago personal injury attorney fighting for your rights.