Earlier this year, I moved to Baltimore. I was forced to leave Austin after bad regulations requiring fingerprint background checks made it too difficult for me to drive on the Lyft platform. And now, I may have to move again if Maryland does the same thing ("Md. Uber and Lyft drivers should be fingerprinted," Dec. 20).
As a driver for Lyft, I take offense when people claim I do not provide safe rides or that I haven't gone through a safety screening check. I drive to make sure people get home safe, I drive to make sure people aren't getting behind the wheel after a few drinks and I drive to make sure my neighbors can get to places in our community they couldn't before. I do this in a safe and affordable ride.
Before I even got on the road, the background check I went through to get on the platform covered all 50 states and checks a number of databases like a sex offender registry. It was comprehensive and complete so passengers can feel safe knowing I'm behind the wheel when they call a ride.
That background check actually gives people more safety than a fingerprint-based check can offer most of the time. There is a misconception there's some comprehensive and complete record of criminal information held by the government. In reality, no such "gold standard" database exists. What you see on "CSI" and "Law and Order" doesn't actually exist. The FBI database is only as good as the information it contains and it turns out, that information isn't always complete.
I'd encourage Maryland to keep providing residents with rides using the system that is working to keep drivers and passengers safe. My family and I want to stay in Maryland so I can earn the income we need. Do not force us to leave.
Behnam Peykari, Cockeysville