Picture the scene. You are headed home following a fun night with friends and decide to call for an Uber. You make small talk with the driver, but when you look up at the front seat, you can definitely make out a Breathalyzer device. You instantly tense and think, “Has my driver been busted for a DUI?” Sadly, this situation has become alarmingly commonplace as there are now dozens of documented instances where Uber and Lyft drivers have been caught with portable breath-test devices in their cars, a major violation of company policy.
More convenient than a cab and more comfortable than driving, the taxi services provided by Lyft and Uber have become widely popular in bigger cities. Compound the high demand with flexible hours and it is plain to see how many have answered the call to become drivers. In response, Lyft and Uber have made efforts to run pre-employment background checks on their new employees with a specific emphasis on keeping out those with past drunk driving convictions. However, the growing number of cases where drivers operate vehicles with an interlock ignition device have caused these companies to come under heavy media scrutiny.
Portable breath-test devices are meant to ensure that drunk drivers, especially repeat offenders, are unable to drink and drive. Installed by court order, these devices are a sure fire indicator of a past DUI conviction. It is Lyft/Uber policy to immediately suspend drivers found with these devices, but the mere fact that so many of these cases are being reported means that there needs to be stricter regulations on hiring practices.
You can read more about this case here.
The most understandable solution for these organizations would be a combination of more thorough pre-employment background screening and routine rechecks to make sure that nothing is sliding under the radar. In this way, these services would only hire the most qualified candidates while ensuring that they continually comply with company policy.
So the next time you are catching a ride, make sure to check out the front seat. You might be surprised by what you see.