If you get into a car with a driver you’ve never met before, you want to know that you can trust the person—right? That’s why all drivers must undergo a criminal background check before they can drive for Lyft. Once you’re cleared, the company and its customers can feel confident that they’re safe.
What are they looking for?
Lyft will not allow drivers to be part of their service if they are …
- listed in the National Sex Offender Registry;
or if at any time they have been convicted of …
- a violent crime
- a sexual offense
- an act of terror
- driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) within the last seven years
- fraud within the last seven years
- drug-related offense within the last seven years
- theft or property damage within the last seven years
It is important to note that the seven-year timeframe mentioned in this list is only an average. The amount of time an offense stays on a person’s record will vary from one jurisdiction to the next. If you are concerned about your circumstances, check the laws in the location where you are applying to drive for Lyft.
Also, the laws that designate a conviction as a disqualification for driving with Lyft can vary from one jurisdiction to another. Look into local laws on your own, or ask Lyft about policies specific to your area.
Who conducts the Lyft background check?
According to Lyft, Checkr is the company used to run background checks on most drivers. The one exception is for drivers in New York City, where the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) runs its own check prior to issuing or renewing a TLC license. Lyft requires all drivers working in New York City to hold a TLC license.
You can monitor the progress of your background check, and dispute it if necessary, by calling Checkr’s support team at (844) 824-3257; by using the Checkr Candidate Portal; or by snail-mailing your dispute along with any supporting documents to: Checkr Inc. 1 Montgomery St. Suite 2400, San Francisco, California 94104.
Whatever means of contact you choose, you’ll need to provide your Social Security number at the time you submit your request, as well as anytime you want to check on your status.
What’s involved in the process?
First, you’ll have to consent to the background check. There will be an opportunity to do so when you fill out your application to drive. Because the background check is covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, your profile will be protected and will remain confidential.
The company performing the background check (whether Checkr or TLC) will start with searches of county and federal courthouses. They will consult multi-state criminal records, the DMV, and the National Sex Offender Registry to ensure a potential Lyft driver has not been involved in any activities that would threaten the safety of Lyft’s customers. Any outstanding issues, such as a criminal charge that is still pending, will turn up during the check as well.
Some felony offenses may or may not cause Lyft to reject your application. These will vary depending on the seriousness of the charge(s), local laws concerning what makes someone a “safe” driver, and Lyft’s policies in your location.
How long does it take?
It can take anywhere from two to four days for the average background check to go through the full procedure. In some cases, according to Lyft, the lack of electronic records at the county level can prolong the process.
Also, if you have lived in many different states, they will each have to be checked, which can cause further delay. And if you’ve been a victim of identity theft, you’ll have to wait even longer, since some extra cross-checking of records may be necessary.
Usually, if something is holding up the background check or you notice that it’s marked “suspended,” you’ll receive an email from a Checkr “no-reply” address giving you instructions. If you don’t receive an email, go to the Checkr Candidate Portal to request current information.
Do I have to pay for the Lyft background check?
No. The cost of the background check is covered by Lyft, and is included as part of your free in-app or online application. The only things you have to “give” are your consent and your personal information.
What if I don’t pass the background check?
If you don’t pass, the background check results will be emailed to you at the address you provided. Look over the report, and if it’s accurate you’ll probably see why you were rejected.
If you believe none of the offenses listed should disqualify you from driving, you can contact Lyft support to voice your concerns and provide additional information.
If there is an error on your background check, such as a charge for an offense that is false, or other information that is inaccurate or incomplete, you can contact Checkr to dispute your report.
Although there is no time limit on how long you can take to dispute the report, you should do it as soon as possible.
Remember, standards vary from state to state regarding the number of years that must elapse from the time an offense occurred and the time when you’ll be qualified to drive for Lyft. Even if you’re already a driver in one state, you might not pass the background check and be able to drive in a new one. Bottom line is, always check the state requirements when you move from one place to another so you don’t get any unpleasant surprises.
How often does Lyft run a background check on me?
You already know you’ll be put through a background check when you first apply, but Lyft has reasons for repeating the process. For example, if you move and drive in a new location, you’ll have to comply with the local laws that are in effect there.
From time to time, usually about once a year, Lyft will repeat the background check for everyone. You might, one day, find that you can’t gain access to the app because you need to consent to another background check.
This will ordinarily appear as a pop-up in the app. If you don’t see the pop-up, but aren’t able to drive because you need to have a new background check done, click on your notifications tab to link to the consent form.
Lyft is sensitive to public concerns about the safety of its drivers, so the company is instituting a program of continuous—as in daily—monitoring of its active drivers for criminal charges and convictions. While this might seem like overreach, it’s easy to see why they do it. When your riders feel safe, they use Lyft more often. That works for you, too, doesn’t it?
What about my driving record?
In addition to the background check, Lyft runs a check on your driving record. Another third-party company will produce this report, and depending on what your record shows Lyft may or may not disqualify you.
After you become a driver, your DMV record will be monitored continuously, so Lyft will keep track of any violations and citations you might receive.
Your best bet, always, is to act responsibly and drive carefully.