With ride-hailing services going into effect this Fourth of July holiday, the governor has signed a law that will prevent low-level sex offenders from driving for services such as Uber and Lyft.
Assemblyman Dean Murray, R- East Patchogue, cosponsored the Assembly bill (A.8493) that amends a loophole created when ride hailing services got the OK in upstate New York.
The original upstate ridesharing bill (S.5814/A.7624), which was passed during the budget process, required that companies check the national registry for level-two and level-three sex offenders before hiring drivers, but did not require they check the state registry, which is where level-one sex offenders are listed.
“It is unfortunate that this glaring oversight happened in the first place but I am happy we have corrected this dangerous public safety issue,” said Murray.
This new legislation, sponsored in the Assembly by Joe Lentol, clarifies the law by explicitly stating that persons required to register as sex offenders are disqualified from driving for a transportation network company, such as Uber or Lyft.
It also creates a mechanism for transportation network companies to electronically submit names to the state Division of Criminal Justice to conduct a search of the sex offender registry for all applicants for employment as drivers, including level-one sex offenders who are not listed on the public website.
Murray said people using the services don’t deserve to be put at risk when making the responsible decision to not drink and drive.
“I don’t think it is unreasonable for New Yorkers to expect us to take action to ensure that when they climb into a car participating in this ride-sharing service, they are not climbing in next to a convicted sex offender,” Murray said.
Senator Thomas Croci, R-Sayville, carried the bill in Senate (S.6782).
“A gross oversight has been corrected. We must thoroughly screen individuals who are driving the people we care for,” Croci said.
The new law took effect on June 29.