Uber and Lyft Will Exchange Information on Banned Drivers

Published on March 12, 2021

Both Uber and Lyft will work together on a registry of information on drivers that have been banned from driving on either platform over complaints of harassment or abuse after earlier reports revealed that both platforms have seen a rise in cases of assault and harassment from drivers, particularly among female passengers. Both companies announced the new program in two blog posts that were published in each respective companies’ newsrooms this week.

The Industry Sharing Safety Program—the first of its kind—will enable both companies to keep track of drivers that have been suspended from either platform after receiving passenger complaints for issues like sexual harassment or assault or assault fatalities. The initiative is part of each companies pledge to take safety seriously after mounting reports of harassment or violence showed a need for each company to make safety a priority.

The initiative will only exchange basic information about the drivers that have been banned over serious complaints, and Uber says this will prevent them from being able to simply sign up for a different platform if they’re banned from one. Though it clarifies that the incidents themselves are “exceedingly rare,” the company says that its initiative is in line with its other victims advocacy partnerships that it took on as part of its safety initiatives throughout the last several years.

In 2019 Uber released its first ever collection of data on the safety issues posed by its platform, and acknowledging that the industry had work to do in keeping passengers safe after several instances of highly publicized sexual assault or fatalities occurred at the hands of their drivers. Though the instances are rare, concerns about passenger safety became so common that there was even a TikTok trend dedicated to making fake phone calls from family members that passengers could play while on a trip.

Uber also urges other companies—including delivery companies—to enroll in the partnership to swap additional information on those platforms too. Ideally, if a driver or delivery person is banned from driving or delivering on one app over serious harassment or violence complaints, they wouldn’t be able to simply move to the next. The initiative will partner with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, as well as the Urban Institute, and the information will be shared through a company called HireRight in what Lyft calls a “survivor centric” approach to solving these problems.

Most of these companies do require background checks to drive or deliver with the platforms, though the background checks only look at things like driving records and existing criminal charges. For drivers with no prior history of assault or other serious criminal charges, passengers remain at risk if there is no legal action against the driver after they’re banned from another platform on allegations of assault or violence.

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Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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