8,000 Uber, Lyft Drivers in Massachusetts Fail New Background Check

That's around 11 percent of the ride-hailing drivers in the state. (Er, commonwealth.)

Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Thanks to a new law being implemented in Massachusetts, more than 8,000 drivers for the ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft have been forced to hang up their apps after failing a state-run background check that reviews driving and criminal records, according to state records released this week obtained by the media.

Some 8,206 people have lost their ability to drive for the companies so far as a result of the new system, which began looking into driver backgrounds in January of this year. That's roughly 11 percent of the 70,789 drivers working for the likes of Lyft and Uber in Massachusetts, according to The Boston Globe

Lyft and Uber conduct background checks of their own, but these are limited to the last seven years under Massachusetts law. 

The new state-run setup, which was implemented last year by the state legislature, allows Massachusetts to ban people from serving as ride-hailing drivers if they have had their driver's licenses suspended, been nabbed for reckless driving, or committed certain violent crimes anytime in the previous seven years—or to bar them if they've committed more serious offenses, such as sexual assault or drunk driving that resulted in serious injury or death. The law goes into effect in 2018, but Uber and Lyft agreed to voluntarily let Massachusetts look into their drivers' histories starting this year. 

1,640 drivers were bounced for having had a suspended license, according to The Boston Herald, making it the most common reason applications were rejected. early as many people—1,559—were rejected for a history of violent crime, while 51 lost their ability to drive for Lyft or Uber due to a past sex offense. 

Uber criticized the state over the strict nature of the findings. "Thousands of people in Massachusetts have lost access to economic opportunities as a result of a screening that includes an unfair and unjust indefinite lookback period," the company said in a statement.

Pictured: An actual Boston-area Uber driver.