Uber Driver With Battery Conviction Charged With Punching Passenger

Ride-sharing service Uber is already drawing fire from established taxi and livery services who allege that its drivers are not held to the same standards as professional drivers. So it’s not great news that one of its drivers has not only been arrested for allegedly punching a passenger, but that he has a criminal history that does not bode well for one in this line of work.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, an Uber customer got into a dispute with the driver back in November when the passenger challenged whether the driver was the one he’d requested.

When the passenger took a photo of the car’s license plate, the driver allegedly punched the passenger in the hand and elbowed him in the chest.

Uber does background screens on potential drivers, but the service either missed or thought it was okay that this driver had previous convictions for felony drug dealing in 2009 and for misdemeanor battery against a store clerk in 2012.

Since the November incident, he’s been hit with a second misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly slamming a woman to the ground. The driver has entered a not guilty plea in that case.

The driver has since been let go by Uber, but the publicity damage is already done.

The city’s District Attorney, George Gascón, has called on California state regulators to require higher standards for the screening of drivers for services like Uber.

“We want to make sure anything that indicates a potential for violence and potential for poor driving habits is clearly known,” said Gascón. “We’re trying to protect the consumer as they’re engaging this service.”

Uber recently institute a tougher background check after a driver with a previous reckless driving charge was involved in an accident that killed a 6-year-old girl on New Year’s Eve.