House Dems want fingerprints for ride-hailing drivers

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A group of eight House Democrats is calling for drivers for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to be fingerprinted before they can pick up passengers. 

The lawmakers said the fingerprints would make it easier for the companies that have become popular alternatives to taxis to protect their passengers. 

“While we understand your companies conduct private background checks when vetting potential drivers, you should take additional steps to increase the safety of your customers,” the representatives wrote. “Specifically, we urge you to adopt comprehensive fingerprint-based background checks for new and existing drivers. 

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"With rapidly expanding operations in the United States, your companies have become part of the daily lives of many Americans," the lawmakers continued. "Following multiple instances of sexual assault by drivers hired to work in your industry, it is clear that there is an urgent need to improve screening standards currently in place.”

The popular ride-hailing apps have become lightning rods for members of Congress as they have gained steam in major U.S. cities like New York and Washington. 

Some Republican lawmakers have touted the ride-hailing services as a free market response to the federal regulation of the U.S. taxi industry. 

Democrats have countered by raising concerns about the privacy of passengers who provide their personal information to the ride-hailing companies in exchange for use of their apps. 

The letter Monday was sent to the leaders of Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. It was signed by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Corrine BrownCorrine BrownHouse Ethics panel opens probe into Corrine Brown House votes to restore Arlington burial rights for female WWII pilots House appoints negotiators for highway bill talks with Senate MORE (D-Fla.) and John GaramendiJohn GaramendiOvernight Energy: House moves toward conference on energy bill House moves toward conference committee on sweeping energy bill Left divided over women registering for the draft MORE (D-Calif.).