The Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division reviewed complaints of intoxicated Uber drivers from August 2014 to August 2015, of which there were more than 2,000. Uber gave the boot to 574 of their drivers. When the government agency looked more closely, they found that Uber failed to investigate 133 of the complaints and they took it upon themselves to suspend all but 5 of that number. There were no details given on why they didn’t investigate but it occurs to me that the callers may not have been cooperative when Uber tried to reach them.
The result was a $750,000.00 fine by the California Public Utilities Commission, for failing to follow a “zero tolerance policy” in place to investigate and suspend drivers with complaints of DUI by customers. The fine followed a settlement between the company, under which Uber operates in California, and the Commission. In addition to the fine, Uber has agreed to begin an education program on the “zero tolerance” regulations.
The “zero tolerance policy” requires the company to post a clearly visible or an app function for complaints of driver DUI. In addition, it requires the company to suspend the driver promptly upon receiving this type of complaint, pending an investigation. The Commission found that Uber didn’t have a dedicated button or phone line for reporting the zero tolerance complaints. It also found that Uber’s system of dealing with the complaints let the drivers continue to drive for a short period of time before being suspended.
Although passengers have an obligation to themselves to avoid getting in a vehicle with a drunk driver, is it fair to put the burden on them when they are acting responsibly by not driving? As for me, I suppose in the future I’ll make an effort to engage the driver in conversation and be more conscious of how they are driving. I found other articles discussing Uber incidents and policies too: