Uber fights with Maryland over fingerprint background checks

WASHINGTON — A battle over background checks is beginning between Uber and the State of Maryland, and the popular ride-sharing service has threatened to leave the state if it does not get its way.

Under a Maryland law passed last year, Uber and other ride-sharing companies such as Lyft must start using fingerprinting during criminal background checks for drivers.

Fingerprinting is already required for taxi drivers, and state regulators say it will help weed out job applicants who lie about background information.

But Uber wants to do things its own way. The company claims its background check system is just as effective and that fingerprinting would create unnecessary hurdles for people who want to be drivers.

Hearings on the matter are set to begin Thursday in front of the Maryland Public Service Commission, The Baltimore Sun reports. A decision is expected by mid-December.

Uber planned a protest in Baltimore Thursday morning and said it would stop doing business in Maryland if the fingerprinting requirement is allowed to stand. The Sun reports that Lyft hasn’t said it would withdraw, but that it doesn’t operate in any market requiring fingerprinting except New York City.

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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