Austin, TX v. Ride-Sharing: A Hot Mess that Hurts Citizens

background checks lyftAustin, Texas is the latest city in the nation to try and change the criminal background check protocol of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. On May 7, 2016, voters shot down Proposition 1, an Austin statute that would have exempt ride-sharing companies from obtaining fingerprints from their drivers.

The previous process for vetting Lyft and Uber drivers in Austin involved background checks based on information provided by the drivers, such as social security numbers and driver’s licenses. Some legislative officials and Austinites argue that not obtaining biometric data from drivers responsible for the safety of others puts riders at risk, because one could potentially use stolen or false information in order to obtain employment.

While a fingerprint check would certainly weed out criminals who have records with the FBI, the screening process in place seems more than adequate for providing Austin, the seventh drunkest city in the nation, with affordable and reliable alternatives to expensive taxi services or worse, drunk driving, which is a chronic problem in the city.

Lyft and Uber already run their drivers through national background check databases, while Austin taxi drivers have most of their screenings conducted stateside. The possibility that a taxi driver committed a crime in another state and had it slip through the cracks seems much more terrifying than a ride-sharing driver being nationally evaluated with the minute chance that he or she may have used someone else’s information (the fact that Lyft requires drivers to meet with a mentor who takes the applicants driver’s license and insurance information in person makes the likelihood of fraudulent credentials seem slim to none).

An even more alarming prospect is that Austin city officials seems to be more concerned with making money off of fingerprinting processing fees from the ride-sharing companies than providing their constituents with safe and inexpensive transportation. Partygoers are more likely to drive while intoxicated without an efficient alternative (Lyft and Uber provide pickups within minutes, while taxis can take exponentially longer). In turn, the city makes more money from DWI and DUI fines.

As soon as Proposition 1 failed, Lyft and Uber pulled their services from Austin city limits. Whether or not this voluntary decision came from a fiscal or moral standpoint, one reality is certain: Austinites are bereft of the convenience of ride-sharing, which can’t seem to do anything but hurt the population as a whole.

Background Check Services: You Get What You Pay For

If you have ever had to hire a new employee you are well aware the process is lengthy, expensive and stressful. That is why so many employers hire an agency to conduct background checks on all potential hires. But not all background check services are created equal and quite frankly attempting to save a buck or two, even though understandable, when it comes this important part of the hiring process can ultimately be a costly error. Here are a few factors you should consider when shelling out your hard earned money on a background service provider.

Above all else you need a service that is accurate. Remember, you are using this information to help you hire an individual you will trust with sensitive information, money and possibly company secrets. Prior to submitting payment to a background service provider find a subjective third party reviewer that has checked this service for accuracy. It’s better to pay more and receive accurate results than save a cent and end up with less than reliable information.

Good candidates can be snatched up quickly so moving your potential hires through your hiring process quickly is paramount. When you are considering a background check service provider look or ask for their turnaround time. Paying a little bit more now for speedy results may save you thousands finding another perfect candidate.

User friendly
Is the information you are requesting from a background service provider easy to access? Do they provide a guide that can help you understand the results? When comparing services, regardless of price, ensure that you employ a company that features a user-friendly dashboard.

Number of services provided
You may think you only need a standard background check but what if you discover you require more? For example, credit reports and a criminal background check initially may seem extensive but what about your interviewees’ social media profiles? If you want a complete picture you may need a background service provider that has a plethora of offerings even if you think you don’t need them.