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uber vs. Massachusetts

Thousands of Uber, Lyft applicants in Massachusetts fail new state background checks

Under a new state background check process in Massachusetts, 8,206 people who applied to drive for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft between January and April were denied licenses, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities announced Wednesday.

Most of the rejections were due to suspended licenses or people not having enough years of driving experience to qualify for the companies, The Boston Globe reports. There were hundreds of other applications tossed out due to serious crimes, like violent offenses or reckless driving, and 51 sex offenders were denied licenses. A total of 70,789 applications were submitted.

The law requires that applicants go through a two-part background check, first from the company and then a follow-up from the state. Before, just the companies had to conduct the background check, and both Lyft and Uber said the state digs deeper into a driver's history than they do. In a statement, Uber showed its irritation with the new law, saying: "Thousands of people in Massachusetts have lost access to economic opportunities as a result of a screening that includes an unfair and unjust indefinite lookback period. We have an opportunity to repair the current system in the rules process so that people who deserve to work are not denied the opportunity."