Have you applied to drive for Uber or Lyft but received notice that the TNC Division denied your background check clearance certificate? Are you a current rideshare driver who was suspended after being arrested or receiving a traffic ticket? If so, it is important that you understand your rights and how to effectively pursue them. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy represents Uber and Lyft drivers in administrative hearings in front of the TNC Division, helping them reverse suspensions and denials of background check clearance certificates. Attorney Murphy commands an impressive knowledge of the rideshare driver suitability standard and can ensure that your application was not improperly denied.What Is the Suitability Standard?
Under Massachusetts law, a person can only become a rideshare driver after they meet certain criteria. One of the requirements of becoming a Massachusetts rideshare driver is that the Transportation Network Company Division (TNC Division) must determine that you are “suitable to perform” rideshare services. To determine whether a driver is suitable, state law requires initial and periodic background checks.
While you don’t need a perfect criminal record or driving history to become a rideshare driver, there are criminal convictions that will prevent you from doing so. Additionally, if you have a major traffic violation on your driving history—or too many minor traffic tickets—the TNC Division will deem you unsuitable.
This suitability standard is often the source of headache for prospective rideshare drivers, as it is hardly a model of clarity. Below are some of the disqualifying traffic violations that will cause the TNC Division to deny your background check clearance certificate.Minor Traffic Violations: If you received more than four minor traffic violations over the past three years, you may be deemed unsuitable. The list of minor traffic violations is contained in 211 CMR 134 Appendix A, and includes:
- Hit and run accidents,
- Blocking a crosswalk,
- Driving in the breakdown lane,
- Failure to signal,
- Following too closely,
- Improper use of a horn,
- Racing, and
- School Zone speeding violations.
- Reckless driving,
- Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury,
- Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
- Vehicular homicide,
- Driving on a suspended or revoked license, and
- Refusing to stop for a police officer.
The TNC Division will also review your criminal record before issuing a background check clearance certificate. The suitability standard provides that you cannot become a Massachusetts rideshare driver if, within the past seven years, you have a conviction for any offense that is punishable by more than 2.5 years. For example, felony fraud, breaking and entering, violation of a harassment protection order, identity theft and assault and battery are all seven-year disqualifying offenses.
Additionally, if you have been labeled a “habitual traffic offender,” you are ineligible to drive for Uber or Lyft for ten years.
Finally, there are also certain convictions that forever bar you from becoming a rideshare driver in Massachusetts, including:
- Two or more OUI offenses,
- OUI resulting in serious bodily injury,
- Sex offenses, and
- Any violent crime punishable by more than ten years in prison.
If you recently applied to drive for Uber or Lyft but were denied a background check clearance certificate, you have the right to appeal the Division’s decision. However, you have just 30 days to file your appeal. At the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy, we can help you reverse an adverse finding by the TNC Division. Attorney Murphy is an experienced lawyer who proudly represents Uber and Lyft drivers in all types of administrative proceedings, including those challenging violations of the suitability standard. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Boston rideshare administrative appeals lawyer today, call (617) 367-0450. You can also reach Attorney Murphy through the firm’s online contact form.