#UberDrivers

Uber hit with $8.9 million fine in Colorado for letting unqualified drivers on its platform

One driver was an escaped convict

by Andrew J. Hawkins Nov 21, 2017, 1:16pm EST

Colorado has ordered Uber to pay a fine of $8.9 million for allowing individuals with disqualifying criminal or motor vehicle offenses, or without valid licenses, to drive for the company, Reuters reports. The company blamed an “error” in its background check process for the bad drivers.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) said its probe found violations that included 12 drivers with felony convictions, 17 drivers with major moving-vehicle violations, and three drivers with a type of driver’s license required only after recent drunk-driving convictions. The commission said that Uber’s background checks also failed to identify a number of aliases used by their drivers, including one driver who was “a convicted felon, habitual offender, and at one point in his past had escaped from the Colorado Department of Corrections.” Nevertheless, after he was released from prison, he became a driver for Uber. The company was cited $2,500 a day for each day a disqualified driver was found to have worked.

“THE COMPANY’S BACKGROUND CHECKS ARE INADEQUATE”

“We have determined that Uber had background check information that should have disqualified these drivers under the law, but they were allowed to drive anyway,” Doug Dean, the commission’s director, said in a statement. “PUC 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. In other cases, we could not confirm criminal background checks were even conducted by Uber.”

In a statement, Uber says it recently discovered a “process error that was inconsistent with Colorado’s ride-sharing regulations and proactively notified the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). This error affected a small number of drivers and we immediately took corrective action. 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.” Asked if the company planned on paying the fine, a spokesperson said they were “evaluating our options.”

This isn’t the first time Uber has been reprimanded for its security policies. In 2014, the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco sued the ride-hailing company for claiming its background checks were the most thorough in the industry, despite the fact that Uber does not take drivers' fingerprints like many taxi companies do. Uber paid $10 million to settle the suit. A new lawsuit seeking class action status was filed recently by two anonymous women who claim to have been raped or assaulted by Uber drivers. Their lawsuit is seeking to force Uber to implement stricter background check policies.

Fingerprinting drivers is a common point of contention between Uber and local governments. The company left out of Austin, Texas, after city officials there passed a law requiring finger printing for drivers. (Uber has since returned after a state law was passed voiding the requirement.)

In response to the Colorado decision, Uber notes that the state’s laws governing app-based ride-hailing services are uniquely strict. According to current Colorado law, a driver convicted of a felony for nonviolent crimes, such as trespassing or forgery, in their lifetime would not be eligible to drive for Uber in Colorado.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/21/16685908/uber-colorado-fine-unqualified-drivers-convict

Police: Florida man dies after punch from Uber driver in St. Pete

Witness: Passenger was 'completely unresponsive'

WFTS WebteamMichael Paluska

5:32 PM, Aug 11, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - UPDATE | Terry Kimball, an Uber passenger punched by his driver, has died as a result of his injuries, officials said Saturday, Aug. 12.

St. Petersburg police said no charges have been filed yet and the investigation continues. 

ORIGINAL STORY | An Uber driver is accused of punching a passenger in St. Petersburg, causing what could be life-threatening injuries.

Police say at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Uber driver Kabir O' Farril Diaz, 38, picked up 56-year-old passenger Terry L. Kimball.

They had a dispute over the route the driver was taking. Diaz pulled over at the Quick Pick Foods store at 800 58th St. N. in St. Petersburg, where they had a physical altercation.

Authorities say the driver punched Kimball, and he did not regain consciousness.

"I saw this guy laying on the ground. This woman was pressing on his chest trying to bring him back," Carlton Reid said. "He wasn't responsive. It was pretty tough, really I was really scared, I didn't know what was going on with him and I was pretty worried."

Reid witnessed the aftermath of the fight.

He is now in the hospital with serious brain trauma and life-threatening injuries.

Police said a witness told them Kimball appeared to be the aggressor.  A friend of Diaz told ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska he has a baby on the way and is not a violent person.

According to Pinellas County court records Kimball's been arrested multiple times for crimes that include DUI, simple battery, resisting arrest, and disorderly intoxication.  

"That's very sad it really is I would like to know what happened now, truly," Reid said.  

Investigators are speaking with witnesses and they say Diaz, who has not been charged at this time, is cooperating.

http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/region-south-pinellas/st-petersburg/uber-driver-accused-of-punching-passenger-causing-possibly-life-threatening-injuries

Bicyclist claims Uber driver stopped car to assault him

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A cyclist says he was bloodied and beaten by an Uber driver.

“Really surprising,” said Paul Jeffery.

Jeffery says he was riding his bike along Southeast Salmon Street, near Sunnyside School, when he heard the revving of an engine coming from behind him. Jeffery said a car with an Uber sticker sped by him. 

“I call out to him, ‘you’re going too fast,’” said Jeffery.

Jeffery says the driver pulled over and got out of his car. According to Jeffery, the man threw him against a parked car and punched him at least four or five times.

“I was freaked out,” said Jeffery. “There is no way I could’ve provoked him to do that kind of thing.”

Jeffery believes the Uber driver was off duty at the time of the incident. A spokesman for the company says they take allegations like this seriously and they are looking in to the case. Detectives with the Portland Police Bureau are investigating, too.

“We’re all humans trying to share a public space,” added Jeffery.

http://www.kgw.com/news/local/bicyclist-claims-uber-driver-stops-car-to-assault-him/434727885

Police: Uber driver targeted seaside homes when people were away

USA TODAY NETWORKThe (Salisbury, Md.) Daily Times 9:34 p.m. ET

Feb. 16, 2017

SALISBURY, Md. — An Uber driver has been arrested in connection with multiple burglaries in the coastal Delaware towns of Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island.

Delaware State Police, in conjunction with the Bethany Beach Police Department, announced the arrest of 26-year-old Saddam A. Awadallah of Frankford. Awadallah was tracked down in Tennessee and extradited back to the First State on Feb. 13, state police said.

State police said Awadallah worked as an Uber driver for customers in Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island. While patrons were away at businesses and restaurants in Ocean City and Dewey Beach, state police say Awadallah would burglarize their homes for credit cards, computers, watches, cellphones, tablets, sunglasses and other items of value.

Man sues Uber for $45 million for allegedly causing his divorce

Awadallah has been charged with three counts of second-degree burglary, possession of burglary tools, theft from a victim older than 62, 11 counts of theft and criminal mischief. Following arraignment in the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas, he was committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution on a $31,000 bond, state police said.

The burglaries are still under investigation. Anyone who may have been a victim or might have information relating to this case is asked to contact Delaware State Police detective T. Powell at 302-752-3807 or submit a tip at Delware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333. Tipsters can also submit information at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com. or by texting the tip to 274637.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/02/16/police-uber-driver-targeted-homes/98023814/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Chicago fines former Uber executive David Plouffe $90K for illegal lobbying

Report: Two Baton Rouge Uber drivers arrested for DWI

POSTED 4:24 PM, FEBRUARY 10, 2017, BY WGNO WEB DESK, UPDATED AT 04:25PM, FEBRUARY 10, 2017

BATON ROUGE (WGNO) – Two Uber drivers were arrested for DWIs Friday morning.

According to a report from WBRZ in Baton Rouge, one of the drivers had a passenger in the vehicle at the time of his arrest.

Albert Defrances was booked for second-offense DWI, drinking in a motor vehicle and improper lane usage after his blood-alcohol test registered a .146. The legal limit is .08.

The passenger was able to find another ride.

The other driver, Craig Shields Jr., was on call to take Uber passengers. He registered a .148 on his blood-alcohol test. It was his first DWI arrest.

http://wgno.com/2017/02/10/report-two-baton-rouge-uber-drivers-arrested-for-dwi/