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Parents turn to Uber to shuttle kids, even though it's not allowed

Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Parenting News

Critics say parents who let their kids take Uber and Lyft are taking a risk because their drivers aren't put through the same rigorous background checks applied to cab drivers.

"Just because an app makes it easy, doesn't mean it's safe -- or wise," said Dave Sutton, spokesman for WhosDrivingYou.org, a taxi industry group that is pushing for stricter screening rules for Uber and Lyft drivers.

"It's important to screen out a bad driver ahead of time," Sutton said. "Once you're in the car, it's too late."

Yellow Cab President John Camillo says his company requires intensive background checks conducted by law enforcement.

"Every driver is fingerprinted," he said. "If my driver does not use the proper name, you can't fool the fingerprints. They are sent to the FBI and they do a national search. I think our background checks are infinitely better."

All Uber drivers undergo a background check that includes a review of their driving record and criminal history, Page said. The screening is done by a background check service accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. Uber also provides live GPS tracking and a "Share My Trip" feature that lets customers share trip details in real time with family and friends, she said.

Still, some Uber drivers have been accused of crimes against their passengers, critics note.

A year ago, a Boca Raton, Fla., man working as an Uber driver was arrested after three women accused him of rape in three separate incidents. And in May, an Uber driver in Kissimmee, Fla., was accused of raping a 14-year-old customer traveling alone who had requested a ride to her aunt's house.

South Florida mom Rhonda Tescher has seen the headlines, but lets her 15-year-old daughter take Uber as long as she has two friends along.

"I never let her take it by herself," she said.

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