Guest opinion: Why does Uber get to skirt the rules?
As Paul Harvey would say, now for the rest of the story.
Uber is the illegitimate bastard child of the ground transportation industry, and the Uber app is the perfect tool for a criminal.
Uber drivers never meet face to face with an interviewer. They are never fingerprinted to see if they have committed crimes in the last 10 years.
They are not required to do a driving or a drug test to see if they are qualified to drive for people. They are not required to carry commercial insurance, which leaves the consumer exposed.
Uber uses name-based background checks. With the amount of identity theft that takes place, a criminal can use the Uber app and go from county to county, state to state using made up names.
These drivers are loosely screened, yet are given your home address when you want a ride.
Fingerprinting requirements are nothing new; hundreds of small businesses and thousands of drivers comply with them every day. Yet Uber, which some say is valued at $50 billion, says it can’t afford fingerprint check. But it can afford to hire eight lobbyists here in Colorado alone to skirt the rules that apply to ground transportation.
Uber has spent nearly $1 million in California to skirt the ground transportation industry standards. You need to ask yourself why Uber doesn’t play by the same rules as everyone else.
Google “Uber lawsuits” and read for yourself. There are plenty of results.
One of the earliest and ugliest lawsuits involved a 6-year-old girl who was crossing the street with her family in California when an Uber driver ran them over, killing the little girl and hurting her mother. Uber denied responsibility by saying the client was not in the car at the time, but ended up settling the case. Google: “CA 6-year-old dies, Dec. 31, 2013.”
There are multiple stories of Uber drivers accused of raping clients. Google: “Uber driver rapes client.”
In Denver last year, an Uber driver took a woman to the airport then was accused of returning to her house to rob her. Google: “Denver March 2015 Uber driver arrested for robbery.”
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, on March 17, 2016, Jason Dalton was arrested in the slaying of six people and wounding two others. In between killings, authorities say, he picked up fares for Uber. He is now suing Uber for $10 million, saying Uber mistreated him and caused him to go berserk.
Uber relies on cheap labor and a creative reading of business laws. These companies save massively by shifting the cost of running a business to the workers, profiting off the backs of their workers.
Here in Colorado, the Public Utilities Commission reduced its commercial insurance requirement from $1 million to 500,000 even though medical costs have skyrocketed. For those of us who have been doing this for more than 20 seconds, we carry much more that what the state requires. The consumer when booking a vehicle should ask how much insurance the company carries.
It’s funny that we will make sure the bank our money sits in is insured, but not the cars we get into.
If you are thinking of driving for Uber, you need to educate yourself. Drivers are suing Uber over lost wages, tips never paid, classification of drivers, Social Security, worker compensation and unemployment pay. There are also drivers who have been in accidents that are left uninsured due to Uber lawyers making up ridiculous reasons on why they are not responsible. There are drivers who have been attacked by their clients. Google: “The definitive list of Uber horror stories.”
What I don’t understand is why our state and local officials are allowing a double standard. Why are my company and all the other ground transportation providers held to a higher standard, yet Uber is allowed to come in and skirt the rules? The same officials who hold me accountable are turning a blind eye to Uber being an underinsured ground transportation provider.
Under “Uber lawsuits” you can see what countries, states and cities have banned Uber. You will enjoy the article on Uber in India having SOS buttons in its cars so if the driver attacks you, you can call for help.
I wonder what would happen if we all dropped our insurance. Would we get a free pass like Uber?
I would hope that no matter who you are, law enforcement, the consumer, county official or potential driver that you educate yourself.
Stay safe out there — the only person protecting you is you.
Stacey Brown is with Preferred Limousine, based in Rifle.
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