Skip to main content

Can you be an Uber driver in Minnesota if you're a felon?

They can't drive immediately after getting out of prison.

What's happening?

Uber is in the news after one of its autonomous cars killed a pedestrian in Arizona this week.

On Wednesday, USA Today is reporting that the Uber employee who was in the car at the time of the crash has a felony record.

To be clear, that safety driver wasn't operating that Uber, rather, he was merely in the self-driving vehicle as a backup, per Uber's regulations. 

But while this driver is not thought to bear any responsibility for the fatal collision, it has nonetheless – and some say unfairly – sparked a debate about Uber's hiring practices.

Uber's policy to hire convicted felons under certain, strict circumstances states: "Everybody deserves a fair chance."

So how does it work in Minnesota?

Convicted felons are allowed to work as Uber drivers in Minnesota as long as they can prove that they've been out of trouble for a specific period of time. 

Uber Media Relations specialist Kayle Whaling tells BMTN that all interested contract drivers go through a screening process, which is conducted by an accredited third party company (Checkr). 

Both criminal records and driving history are examined, and if an applicant has any red flags within the past seven years they are disqualified. The background check first looks into driving history and then very specific details regarding criminal history: 

"Individuals who pass the driving history screen then undergo a national, state, and local-level criminal history check that screens a series of national, state, and local databases including the US Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website,* the PACER database, and several different databases used to identify suspected terrorists."

But if a convicted felon has been clean for 7-plus years, they're clear for contract employment as an Uber driver.

Uber has been testing self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Toronto and the greater Phoenix area, not in Minneapolis. Those test, however, has since been put on hold. 

Next Up

Bryan Acuna

Twins sign 16-year-old brother of Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr.

Bryan Acuna is one of the top international prospects, according to MLB.com.

Christopher Endicott

Authorities: Former principal who died in MN jail took his own life

He was found unresponsive in the jail last November.

ambulance

Sheriff: 2 injured, drunk driver arrested after head-on crash

The allegedly drunk driver wasn't injured in the crash.

dirty_jobs

Newest 'Dirty Jobs' ep. has Mike Rowe scraping shmutz in MN

He'll scrape and clean a "special kind of shmutz" from the bottom of an escalator at a local hockey arena.

school, classroom

Here are the 77 nominees for the MN Teacher of the Year award

The nominees will be trimmed to a group of semifinalists and then a group of finalists.

crystal police department

2 women found dead in Crystal home, police investigating

Authorities investigating the incident as a murder-suicide.

Screen Shot 2022-01-27 at 9.15.45 PM

Buckeyes crash the glass, fend off Gophers

E.J. Liddell dominated in the paint to help No. 16 Ohio State.

nicolas blouin flickr fire hose

Fire departments decry drivers running over hoses, endangering crews

It happened in two separate Northland cities this week.

Related

Uber to allow Minnesota riders, drivers to text 911 via its app

The safety feature allows people to report emergencies during a ride-share journey.

The Uber data breach: What you need to know

Personal information of 57 million Uber users was accessed.

Cops suspect fake Uber and Lyft drivers are sexually assaulting passengers

In 4 Mpls. cases the suspects claimed to be rideshare drivers.

Uber will stop tracking you after you've been dropped off

The ride-sharing service had a change of heart about the controversial feature.