SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – While a new policy will have Uber and Lyft drivers going through an annual background check for the first time, drivers still won’t be fingerprinted.

Commissioners with the California Public Utitlies Commission voted unanimously to require the new background checks for employees of the ride-share companies.

However, representatives with the CPUC said the current system of checks is sufficient and added a requirement that the current checks be done each year.

The record before us demonstrated that the process currently employed by the TNC’s does result in properly screened employees, said commissioner Liane Randolph.

The meeting was held in San Francisco – one of the places commercial background checks cannot search.

Only jurisdictions that decide to sell or make public criminal records can be searched.

For example, Lyft uses a company called Sterling to conduct checks. Company officials say they search criminal records in 46 states. And local cities and counties may vary.

We asked which four states and other local areas that aren’t checked, but in the end, representatives from Sterling declined to comment on this story.

Several people spoke in favor of the fingerprinting requirement before the CPUC vote.

“And it’s stupid; Ubers CEO had to resign, woman talking about assault,” said SF resident Robert Senzana. “Your duty is to protect these women. You don’t have any meaningful way of doing this except for fingerprint check.”

A fingerprint check can be run through the FBI database. Unlike the commercial searches, every law enforcement agency in the country has to report crimes to the FBI database.

Taxi drivers still have to submit fingerprints and pass a background check through the FBI’s database. While the FBI’s background checks are known to have some shortcomings, they are still widely regarded as the most thorough security check available.

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