Uber On Damage Control After Series Of Driver Attacks

The company's free-wheeling approach to ride-sharing has proven both a blessing and a curse.
Posted at 3:18 PM, Sep 27, 2014

The latest string of alleged attacks by Uber drivers has many questioning the safety of the taxi service. 

This week, an Orlando Uber driver was arrested after allegedly putting his hand down his female passenger's shirt. The driver told police the passenger's clothing implied "she was asking for that."

Also this week, a San Francisco driver was accused of hitting a passenger in the head with a hammer. Police say the victim suffered trauma to the head and was hospitalized.

And in June, a California Uber driverwas arrested on suspicion of kidnapping a woman with the intent to sexually assault her. The woman who police say was under the influence of alcohol at the time of pick-up called 911 when she woke up next to her shirtless driver in a motel room. 

Incidents like these have Uber facing heavy criticism in the media. 

A travel journalist writing for The Huffington Post  listed five reasons why he is "not on board" with Uber. These included a criticism of the company's screening policies. 

Uber performs background checks, but they only go back seven years. So theoretically, an Uber driver could have had a DUI eight years ago, and it wouldn't show up. 

A recent KNTV investigative piece highlights some of the potential dangers Uber riders face including their drivers getting into accidents and getting a driver with a criminal record. 

It is perhaps this media scrutiny and the heavily publicized attacks that led to the recent crackdowns on Uber and other ride-share companies Lyft and Sidecar in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The district attorneys for these cities say the companies were misleading in telling customers their background checks screen for all criminal offenses and DUIs, when they actually don't.

The attorneys also saythe companies need to be regulated to make sure riders are getting the miles they are paying for and if the companies do not make changes they will take legal action.