Screening News Weekly Wrap: December 20th, 2019

About 8 min

Screening News Weekly Wrap: December 20th, 2019

Welcome to the last EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap presented by Jennifer Gladstone of 2019. In addition to incredible reporting on high profile background screening issues facing the industry, we covered a lot of eyebrow-raising ground this year:

  • A delivery driver's violent crimes
  • The child sex sting that busted a church youth director 
  • Six-year EEOC lawsuit settled
  • A hair-raising horse racing concern, which further showcases the need for drug testing

We’ll be back in 2020 bigger and better than ever! Stay tuned for a new feature called "Ask an Expert" that answers YOUR background screening questions. Submit your questions to our experts right here.  

For now… enjoy the news.


Is Uber Really Unsafe?

If someone asked you how safe you think Uber is, how would you answer? If you’re going off the stories that hit the airwaves in 2019, including right here on SNN, about the number of lawsuits filed against the ride-hailing giant, you might respond, “Not very.”

Well, Uber has something to say – and show - about that. The company recently released a U.S. Safety Report that not only shows how many people are harmed during its rides, but also shares some interesting facts about its screening process.

The Numbers

The report compiled two years’ worth of information, from 2017-2018. Among the notable findings during that time:

  • 107 people died in car crashes
  • Nineteen people died as a result of a physical attack
  • Nearly 6,000 reports of serious sexual assault were filed
    • In 45% of these reports, the driver was the victim

All told, the incidents in this report account for .0003% of all Uber rides. In other words, more than 99.9% of rides are safe.

How Does Uber Screen Drivers?

Despite the percentage of perfectly safe rides, Uber and other ride-hailing companies like Lyft, are blamed for bad background checks. There is an ongoing push for these businesses to add fingerprint checks to their screening processes. The Washington Post asked Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi about that.

“Could better or different kinds of background checks, like fingerprint checks, have stopped some of these assaults from happening?”

“We've looked into this. We have vehicular checks, criminal records, and then continuous background checks as well. So if something happens between the last kind of official background check, we deactivate our driver. We think that is a comprehensive solution and we don't believe that fingerprinting would change things materially one way or the other.”

During the two years studied, more than one-million prospective drivers failed Uber’s background screening process. Seventy-six percent of those failed during the first screen of their motor vehicle report check and never even made it to the criminal history check. Uber has also added continuous monitoring of its more than 40-thousand drivers.

Swipe Left on Sex Offenders

“There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products.”
-Match Group spokesperson

When we read this quote about the dangers of using online dating services, we had to investigate. What we found – just like the journalists who dug into this issue for 16 months - is conflicting information whether these apps screen their users.

Paid vs. Unpaid

The Match Group spokesperson quoted above is cited in numerous sources as saying they screen users of their pay sites – but NOT those on free services like Tinder, OKCupid, or Plenty of Fish. However, another Match Group spokesperson discredits that claim and insists it spend millions every year to keep “bad actors” off its apps.

A quick skim of Plenty of Fish’s terms of use provides insight. Plenty of Fish “does not conduct criminal background or identity verification checks on its users or otherwise inquire into the background of its users,” reports BuzzFeed. Not only does this leave users vulnerable to sex offenders, it can lead to so-called “catfishing.” Catfishing is a form of digital deception to defraud or deceive someone.

Protect Yourself

So, with all the differing information out there, what can you do? The quick answer is to be proactive.

Match Group owns 45 online dating brands so do your homework before signing up. Carefully read the terms of service so you understand what, if any, background checks or verifications are conducted. Don’t be shy about looking up a date on the National Sex Offender Public Website and doing some digital detective work.

We’ll let you know if Match Group updates any of its policies on any of its platforms.

Drugged Driving is on Bender

Car accidents and insurance claims are skyrocketing in the first three states to legalize recreational marijuana, and so far, no one knows how to stop the trend.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety examined crash rates in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington from 2012 to 2016. Crash rates increased 5.2%, while collision claims jumped 6% when compared to neighboring states that have NOT legalized weed.

Compared to drunk drivers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports drivers who are high tend to:

  • Drive at lower speeds
  • Have more trouble staying in their lane
  • Brake slower in an emergency

A Weedy Issue

The biggest challenge to law enforcement, lawmakers, and policy makers is there is still no accurate way to determine if someone is under the influence of pot. Toxicologists say cannabis is complex and made of multiple chemicals. It’s unclear how long it stays in a person’s system. In one case, a man was found not guilty of drugged driving because his positive roadside test result was from weed he had smoked two days earlier. This inability to pinpoint impairment will continue to be an issue.

Some law enforcement officers are getting special 12-step training to determine which drugs impair a driver, but the scientific validity of that evidence is often challenged in court.


Mothers Against Drunk Driving says drugged driving is a huge, emerging issue. With voters in up to 10 states expecting to see legalization of cannabis on next year’s ballot, this burning issue won’t flame out anytime soon.

ICYMI: Up in Smoke? Police Drug Test Devices Deliver Unreliable Results. Get the details from this past Screening News Weekly Wrap. 

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