California Crackdown on Uber Over Drunk Drivers


Uber may have to shell out $1.13 million in fines and fees for failing to address complaints in California over its drivers who worked while under the influence of alcohol.

The California Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division of the California Public Utilities Commission has found that Uber violated “zero tolerance” rules governing drunk driver complaints on 151 occasions out of 154 complaints reviewed over the course of a year.

Of the 154 complaints reviewed, Uber was only able to prove that it attempted to contact their driver in 50 instances and only conducted an investigation in 21 instances. In only 22 instances could Uber prove that it had suspended drivers within an hour of a passenger complaint as required by the zero tolerance rules.

The findings come from a review of all passenger complaints lodged between August of 2014 and August of 2015.

The allegations and proposed penalties are now subject to an examination by an administrative law judge who will review before making a recommendation to a five member commission on what actions should be taken.

Uber has responded noting that, since the complaints, the company has made improvements and that their guidelines strictly forbid driving under the influence.

“This report relates to complaints in 2014 and 2015, and we’ve significantly improved our processes since then,” said Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend. “We have zero tolerance for any impaired driving.”

According to the company guidelines, “Uber may also deactivate the account of any driver who receives several unconfirmed complaints of drug or alcohol use.”

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