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Calif. seeks $1M fine for Uber over drunk driving complaints

15 April 2017
Calif. seeks $1M fine for Uber over drunk driving complaints

A division of the California Public Utilities Commission said Uber breached (PDF) so-called "zero-tolerance" guidelines demanding that transportation companies promptly investigate drunken-driving complaints consumers lodge with those companies. Of those, CPED investigated 154 instances and found the company failed to suspend or investigate 151 reports promptly.

Of the 154 instances, there were 22 in which a driver was suspended within an hour of the passenger filing a complaint, the order says.

Although many people use Uber to avoid getting behind the wheel after having a few too many drinks, regulators in California say the ride-hailing company put passengers and the public at risk by failing to quickly boot drivers accused of accused of working while under the influence from its platform. The commission said Uber "occasionally" checked in with the passenger who filed the complaint.

The commission's paperwork also notes that Uber's software does not properly flag up DUI accusations from customers as pressing "zero tolerance" problems. He provided one ride in the first hour, and then responded to four more requests, providing two additional rides.

The state's regulations further mention that ride-hailing giants are to immediately suspend the driver and look into complaints they have received against these drivers.

The commission proposes a $7,500 fine per violation.

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.

The order, issued Tuesday, "found no evidence that (Uber) followed up in any way with zero-tolerance complaints several hours or even one full day after passengers filed such complaints". Even within those 22 complaints, Rasier's records appear to contradict that Rasier did indeed suspend drivers prior to initiating an investigation.

In an statement to The Mercury News, Uber says it's assessing its options regarding the potential fine.

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

When reached for comment, an Uber spokesperson wrote via email, "We have zero tolerance for any impaired driving as outlined in our Community Guidelines".