Who’s Driving Your Taxi? Professor Russo Wants You to Know

Pasqualino “Pat” Russo, Esq. Adjunct Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Pasqualino “Pat” Russo, Esq.
Adjunct Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

A nationwide discussion has been sparked regarding the accuracy, reliability, and adequacy of the public safety requirements that are imposed on for-hire vehicle (“FHV”) providers.  Much of the debate has centered around whether the breadth and scope of driver vetting requirements imposed on drivers providing services through new transportation network companies, or “TNCs,” are comparable to those vetting requirements that have been established for traditional for-hire vehicle providers.  This discussion is compounded by the fact that in several jurisdictions TNCs are operating “rogue,” or outside of the regulatory framework, which has many consumer rights advocates and law enforcement officials questioning whether TNCs are doing enough to protect the riding public.

Adjunct Professor Pat Russo, and his colleague Matthew Daus who is a Distinguished Lectured at the Transportation Resaerch Center of CCNY, have completed a formal study of policies and procedure for background investigations of for-hire drivers.

Professor Matthew W. Daus, Esq. President, International Association of Transportation Regulators Distinguished Lecturer, University Transportation Research Center, Region 2

Professor Matthew W. Daus, Esq.
President, International Association of Transportation Regulators
Distinguished Lecturer, University Transportation Research Center, Region 2

They initiated a comprehensive review of available background checks, and then examined the types of checks in use to vet for-hire drivers in a variety of jurisdictions.  Since there are differing standards for the types of checks in use by jurisdictions, there are legitimate concerns as to how these varying standards put the riding public at risk.  Based on their review of the litigation and legal questions that have been raised concerning current practices for examining the criminal histories of driver-applicants, as well as the potential for disparate reporting of arrests of licensees, their study sought to determine the “best practices” and recommendations for ensuring that those who drive the public meet basic requirements in the local jurisdictions.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here: One Standard for All: Criminal Background Checks for Taxicab, For-Hire, and Transportation Network Company (TNC) Drivers.