Uber Hit With $8.9 Million Fine in Colorado

Colorado wants Uber to pay a big fine for allegedly letting convicted felons and others with questionable backgrounds drive for the company.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission said Monday that it had fined the online ride-hailing company $8.9 million for violating the state’s driver qualification laws. The commission found that Uber allowed 57 drivers to work in Colorado over the past year-and-a-half, even though their histories included stains like felony convictions that would have disqualified them.

The commission said it began its investigation into Uber earlier in the year after being notified by local police about an Uber driver alleged to have assaulted a passenger. The commission said it cross-checked driver information given by Uber with information from court records and state criminal databases and discovered a number of Uber drivers with violations.

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From the Colorado Public Utilities Commission:

Among the findings of the investigation were 12 drivers with felony convictions; 17 drivers with major moving vehicle violations; three drivers with interlock driver’s licenses, which are required after recent drunk driving convictions; and 63 drivers with driver’s license issues.

Companies that provide transportation services in Colorado must perform background checks on their drivers and bar those who fail the check from driving, the commission said.

“[Public Utilities Commission[ staff was able to find felony convictions that the company’s background checks failed to find, demonstrating that the company’s background checks are inadequate,” Doug Dean, the commission’s director, said in a statement. “In other cases, we could not confirm criminal background checks were even conducted by Uber.”

Uber said in a statement to Fortune that it “discovered a process error that was inconsistent with Colorado’s ridesharing regulations and proactively notified the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).”

“This error affected a small number of drivers and we immediately took corrective action,” an Uber spokesperson said. “Per Uber safety policies and Colorado state regulations, drivers with access to the Uber app must undergo a nationally accredited third party background screening. We will continue to work closely with the CPUC to enable access to safe, reliable transportation options for all Coloradans.”

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