New Jersey Assemblyman Daniel Benson, D-14th District, introduced legislation on Jan. 6 to promote more transparency among transportation network companies to limit sexual predators’ access to them.
Assembly Bill 6105 mandates more stringent reporting on the part of both applicants and ride-hailing companies. The bill would require job candidates to disclose whether they have any prior transportation network company experience and whether they were the subject of a sexual misconduct investigation while working for another company.
The bill states that if any current drivers are accused of sexual misconduct, the company would be required to notify other businesses in New Jersey of the allegation, its status and eventual findings of the resulting investigation.
With stricter reporting requirements, Benson says companies such as Uber and Lyft would be more capable of protecting their customers from sexual abusers who would otherwise be able to switch between ride-hailing apps to escape scrutiny and continue preying on unsuspecting passengers. By having these companies inquire about a driver’s background and share information with one another about dangerous applicants, Benson says it would be harder for assailants to continue perpetrating such assaults.
The bill would also authorize law enforcement agencies to provide transportation network companies with a record of an individual’s arrest if the record is available to the general public, and notification of their conviction if the sexual misconduct charge was in connection with a prearranged ride.
Ride-hailing companies would be permitted to ban drivers accused of sexual misconduct on the job from using the digital network, such as the phone app.