California Adopts New Regulations for Ride-Sharing Services

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California regulators have passed new rules for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. The California Public Utilities Commission voted Thursday to adopt new safety rules, but will not require drivers be fingerprinted as part of background checks. 

Dave Sutton, a spokesperson for the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association says the decision by the commission is "a mistake."

The taxi industry had been pushing for the tougher rules, saying ride-hailing companies should be held to the same standard as taxi cab drivers. However, the commission said in a 35-page proposed decision released last month that fingerprinting does not add "a greater level of safety." 

The new rules mandate that ride-sharing companies must run annual background checks on their drivers, but will not need to include the biometric component, such as fingerprinting. Uber and Lyft resisted the push by the taxi cab industry saying fingerprinting would be onerous and discriminatory against minorities. 

“Although we recognize the public’s familiarity with fingerprinting, we do not see that a demonstratively greater level of safety would be added over and above the current background-check protocols,” Commissioner Liane Randolph wrote.

The California legislature passed a law in 2016 that prohibits companies from hiring drivers who are sex offenders, or have been convicted of a violent felony or certain crimes such as assault, domestic violence, or driving under the influence in the last seven years. 

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