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What Does It Take to Become an Uber driver?

Colburn Law

Ubering is an attractive career or side job for thousands of people around the country. Flexible hours, the opportunity to “be your own boss,” and steady income are all factors that appeal to people considering a job as an Uber driver. Uber welcomes people all walks of life to apply – as long as potential drivers meet the personal and vehicle requirements. Uber’s rules are relatively lax compared with the stringent requirements it takes to become a taxicab driver in Washington. Here’s what it takes to chauffer strangers around as an Uber driver in The Emerald City.

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Personal Requirements

There have been hundreds of alleged assaults, sexual harassment, and kidnappings with ties to rideshare company drivers. Many blame the companies’ lack of proper background checks before hiring drivers. Unlike taxi companies, which abide by federal background check regulations, Uber uses the private company HireEase to conduct its checks. Uber only looks at the prospective driver’s last seven years of criminal and driving histories.

Uber will not hire drivers with drug- or alcohol-related offenses, incidents of driving without a license/insurance, fatal accidents, reckless driving charges, or criminal histories in the past seven years. This means that if a driver had a DUI or sexual assault conviction eight years ago, he or she could be your Uber driver today. The only requirements besides the seven-year background check are to be 21 years or older, have at least one year of driving experience in the U.S, a valid in-state driver’s license, and a Social Security number for the background check. Uber does not meet or interview its drivers in person before hiring them.

Vehicle Requirements

Uber has minimum vehicle requirements in place to limit the types of vehicles that drivers may use to transport passengers. As of 2017, vehicles can be no older than 2007. They must be four-door vehicles or minivans, with no commercial branding visible. They must be in good condition with no cosmetic damage. They must pass a standard vehicle inspection. All drivers must maintain insurance policies in accordance with Seattle’s minimum requirements and have a valid vehicle registration (registration does not have to be in the driver’s name).

Drivers are responsible for vehicle maintenance and repairs. Uber does not oversee the safety or performance of the vehicles used by drivers. These processes remain unregulated other than periodic vehicle inspections the city requires for all drivers. If a driver doesn’t have a vehicle or his/her vehicle doesn’t meet Uber’s requirements, there are ways around this stipulation. Establishments like HyreCar exist to rent Uber-approved vehicles to potential drivers. Drivers won’t have to worry about updating their vehicles or maintaining the minimum car insurance policies. Uber will help drivers get cars, if necessary.

Lax Hiring Practices and Uber Lawsuits

If an Uber driver causes an accident or allegedly sexually assaults or otherwise harms passengers, Uber may be on the line for liability. There have been lawsuits against Uber for misrepresenting its screening process in the past, and current suits regarding its shallow background checks in connection with sexual assaults by drivers. Claims assert that better background checks could have stopped these harms from occurring. If you have such a case, confer with a Seattle auto accident attorney right away. Going up against Uber in Seattle is difficult, but it may be worthwhile in your case.