On July 25, 56 year old Uber driver Talal Ali Chammout followed one female passenger whom he drove home into her apartment. The victim reportedly awoke the second day with scratches on her knees and a bump on her head, and Chammout was arrested for sexual assault, remaining in custody to date awaiting trial. Details later surfaced indicating that Chammout was previously arrested for prostitution, but the case was eventually dropped.
An internal investigation started by the company then revealed the fact that Chammout obtained his Uber driver status after presenting a fake City of Dallas license. He was also marked as a non-driver initially, but due to an internal mix-up he was upgraded to driver status in April this year. However, the fact that he managed to do so with fake documents points out that he was never subjected to any background checks.
Uber Dallas has conducted an audit of all of its drivers who use the service in the city, which included reviewing permits for limousine drivers and cross-checking them against both the city’s and their internal database for any irregularities. The company also double-checked to make sure that all of the drivers associated with the service were run through a background check.
The mobile-based transport service has gained popularity in the last couple of years for offering better conditions and fares than traditional taxi services, prompting many protests of unionized taxi drivers. But Uber drivers need to pass a couple of requirements to be accepted: 21 years of age, access to a 4-door-car 2005 or newer (2011 for New York) and auto insurance on his/her name.
However, one of the most important requirements is to pass its background check, which according to the company’s policy is compulsory for all of its new drivers. The background actually consists of two parts: one which traces your judicial history, and another specifically for driving.
The judicial check should normally include the applicant’s county courthouse records for every county that he/she lived in during the past 7 years, as well as personal federal courthouse records and checks to see if he appears in any criminal database or if he is registered as a sex offender in the National Sex Offender Registry.
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