Taking a Taxi or Limo? Taking a Risk? Has the Driver Been Background Checked?
Recent headlines report that taxi cabs are being used for student transportation, often utilized for children with disabilities. Investigative reports suggest that some of these drivers may not have been thoroughly screened by school districts. And, other headlines report limo drivers without permits are operating delivery services: No permit, no background check.
Every day people across the country hail taxi cabs for the purpose of simple transportation. Generally this is an activity one undertakes without much thought. The assumption is any taxi driver with a permit has been fully vetted to conduct such activity. And vetting a taxi cab driver may include a check of criminal history, sex offender registry, and driving records.
In some parts of the country taxi cabs are utilized to transport children to and from school, and, often, these children have disabilities. Seattle Public Schools is one such district that conducts this activity, but a recent article posted to KIROtv.com suggests this may not be the safest form of transportation.
Many of the students are taken to school by a driver who is essentially a stranger. And a KIRO 7 investigation has uncovered Seattle Public Schools fails to personally screen those drivers. http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/parents-question-why-seattle-schools-fails-screen-/nXycb/
Screening drivers is an essential task for a taxi cab company and one that must be conducted universally as a means of protecting the public from potentially dangerous situations. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com suggests: “School districts background check all their employees, including volunteers, and school bus companies vet their drivers. Certainly a school district that utilizes cabs to transport students should ensure those cab drivers have been background checked.”
A similar situation exists in Chicago where cabs are hired to transport children to and from school. A claim has been made against a taxi company suggesting that non-permitted drivers are used for student transportation.
Without a permit, a driver is not on the radar of the Illinois Secretary of State, the department that issues and regulates all school-transport permits. In addition, those non-permitted drivers would not have undergone the extensive background checks and licensing procedures which the Secretary of State requires of anyone who drives schoolchildren in Illinois. http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/non-permit-cab-drivers-taxi-schoolchildren-206701041.html
Almeida states: “Parents that have children in a program where private drivers are used to transport their children should ensure the school district has conducted the proper background screening of their drivers.”
When one considers the use of private drivers for daily school transportation one might consider another risky activity: Limos. And during prom season limos and high school students collide.
On just one Saturday night in downtown Portland, city inspectors caught 12 limos and party buses without permits. They were packed with high school kids going to the prom. http://www.katu.com/news/local/Renting-or-riding-in-limo-party-bus-Check-to-see-if-it-has-permit-206383501.html
The critical component is a permit. Among other things, no permit equals no background check.
A permit means limos and party buses passed rigorous safety and mechanical inspections and drivers passed criminal background checks. The owners have also proven they have liability insurance. http://www.katu.com/news/local/Renting-or-riding-in-limo-party-bus-Check-to-see-if-it-has-permit-206383501.html
While it may be the responsibility of a school district to ensure background checks are conducted on taxi cab drivers transporting children to school, it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure a limo service has a permit and, subsequently, the proper background checks on drivers.
Background screening is a helpful tool in many obvious occupations and many not-so-obvious occupations. Providing a safe environment is the goal of parents, schools, and companies, especially when it comes to at-risk populations, such as children. Background screening provides the information required to make sound decisions and help mitigate risk.
In the end it is critical that school districts that utilize outside transportation providers ensure these companies are thoroughly complaint with all safety regulations, permitting requirements, and drivers are background checked. CriminalBackgroundRecords.com strongly encourages all drivers that come in contact with children be fully permitted and screened.
CriminalBackgroundRecords.com is a third-party background screening company that can provide data and information for delivery services such as taxi-cab companies and limousine services.
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