Tech

Uber risks $1.1m fine after ignoring drunk driver complaints

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Ride-hailing company, Uber in the latest string of bad PR, could be facing yet another fine from regulators in the state of California, this time for allegedly failing to look into rider complaints of drivers on the service being under the influence.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, the state has a zero-tolerance policy for intoxicated drivers on ride-hailing platforms, meaning the company must immediately suspend and investigate a driver if they receive a complaint.

But according to a legal filing from the California Public Utilities Commission, Uber failed to take action in at least 149 complaints during the one-year period from August 2014 to 2015, and may have left potentially dangerous drivers on the road.

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Under the CPUC’s regulations, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft must include an in-app call or reporting feature for rider complaints.

As the agency noted in its brief, however, there’s no way to flag a complaint as a DUI allegation. “The flaw with that approach,” the agency wrote, is that a driver won’t be suspended until Uber can review and identify the complaint by hand.

In fact, out of 154 complaints that the agency reviewed, it found that Uber failed to promptly suspend drivers in 149 of them.

On 64 occasions, drivers even kept picking up riders within an hour after a rider sent in a complaint.

Uber allegedly only followed up with an investigation in 21 of the cases the CPUC reviewed and conflicting data also shows that some drivers were able to stay logged on and marked as available for hours after Uber claimed it had suspended their accounts.

 

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