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Lyft Fined After Hiring Driver With Felony Convictions

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)- The ride share company Lyft has agreed to pay $224,375 after it was found to have missed a driver's felony convictions during background check.

Lyft has admitted it did not do a proper check on a driver with a serious criminal record. He picked up passengers for more than a year. The Colorado legislature passed law allowing the companies to do the checks themselves.

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The Public Utilities Commission previously found dozens of Uber drivers with criminal records who should not have been allowed to pick up passengers. It recommended a $9 million fine against the company.

Now, it's Lyft.

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PUC Director Doug Dean (credit: CBS)

PUC Director Doug Dean told CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger that driver Lyft turned himself in after seeing CBS4's earlier reports.

"He said that he knew that he should not be driving the public because he had felony convictions on his record."

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Sure enough, he had serious felony convictions of robbery, escape and more in other states that Lyft had not mentioned or missed.

Hannah Morrow, a ride share user was asked by CBS4 how she knows she is getting into a safe car.

"I trust Uber to do background check their drivers and Lyft."

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State Senator Cheri Jahn (credit: CBS)

State law allows the ride share companies to do their own background checks. State Senator Cheri Jahn co-sponsored that legislation

"What is broken in the system if it's broken I think they need to be fixed."

She and State Representative Dan Pabon who also sponsored the bill agreed they are willing to look closer and see if the bill that passed needs to be hanged.

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In this case Lyft did not check the driver's record beyond seven years ago. Dean says a check by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation would have caught it,

"We would like to see fingerprint background checks for drivers of all transportation network companies," Dean said.

That is required of taxi drivers.

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(credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Dean says that once again raises the issue of why the difference when the object is to protect the riders is the same.

Lyft issued this statement to CBS4, "The safety of the Lyft community if our top priority. As soon as we became aware of this situation, we immediately deactivated this driver from the Lyft platform."

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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