Published: Sat, April 15, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Uber may face fine over handling of drunk-driving complaints

Uber may face fine over handling of drunk-driving complaints

The California Public Utilities Commission has "zero tolerance" rules when it comes to complaints of driving drunk or under the influence.

Still, regulators said they found in a partial review of 154 complaints that Uber failed to suspend or investigate drivers in almost all of them, the Gate reported.

Uber provided evidence for just 22 of the investigated instances where it claimed to have suspended the driver within one hour of a passenger filing a complaint - but even in those instances, the CPED reported Uber's records contradicted claims it had suspended drivers prior to initiating an investigation. This can be seen as one of the prominent flaws in the approach towards the zero tolerance policy is that the driver on a ride-hailing platform, such as Uber and Lyft, will not be suspended until the rider's complaint has been reviewed and identified by the company individually. In at least 25 instances, the agency did not suspend or investigate drivers that had accrued three or more complaints.

The commission's findings come after a recent backlash against Uber and its senior management over its corporate culture and business tactics, besides sexual harassment complaints.

Rasier reported receiving 2,047 zero-tolerance complaints between August 12, 2014 and August 31, 2015; Rasier deactivated drivers in 574 of those complaints.

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The commission's paperwork also notes that Uber's software does not properly flag up DUI accusations from customers as pressing "zero tolerance" problems. So, this means the state's data, which has taken into account only 154 complaints, can be viewed as incomplete.

Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend said in a statement today, "We have zero tolerance for any impaired driving as outlined in our Community Guidelines".

The CPED said Uber received 2,047 complaints about drivers operating while intoxicated between August 12, 2014, and August 31, 2015.

As for the fine, which looks like pocket change for the $68 billion ride-hailing giant, the state regulators found in a partial review that Uber was in violation of the law in 151 complaints. The company, she said, now has "significantly improved our processes" of reviewing drunken-driving complaints.

The consumer division is recommending a penalty of $7,500 per violation, for a total of $1,132,500. The judge's recommendation will then go before the full five-member commission.

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