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King County questions Uber, Lyft about hiring practices following rape accusations

The King County Council committee said after an up tick in misconduct and assault allegations among rideshare drivers, they wanted to learn about the driver screening process.

SEATTLE — Representative from Uber and Lyft testified Monday in front of King County’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee. The committee said after an up tick in misconduct and assault allegations among rideshare drivers, they wanted to learn about the screening process for drivers.

In January, Bellevue police said a young woman was assaulted after getting into a car with a rideshare symbol on the dashboard. The suspect was arrested in April. He is also accused of raping a woman in Tukwila, after posing as her rideshare driver.

RELATED: Fake Uber driver charged in White Center rape

Representatives for Uber and Lyft said they perform background checks on drivers to ensure rider safety. Additionally, both companies said they are constantly working to improve safety. They said riders should look to the app to learn about safety features. 

“One of the biggest struggles that we have is how to make people aware of the safety features. We certainly send e-mails and put notifications in the app,” said Caleb Weaver, a representative for Uber.

Local authorities have shared the same message of looking to improve rider safety education.

RELATED: Fake rideshare driver accused of rape may have targeted other women around Seattle

“You said you have to do your part in situational awareness and get into the vehicle after you have done your verification checklist,” said Bellevue Assistant Police Chief, Carl Kleinknecht.

The committee said King County has more than 30,000 rideshare drivers. 

Bellevue police and the King County Sheriff’s Office shared the following rideshare safety tips with residents:

  • Make sure the license plate number on the car matches the license plate number listed on the ride app. 
  • If given the option, let someone else know you're in an Uber or a Lyft. 
  • Ask “What’s my name?” Verify that the driver picking you up knows your name and is, in fact, the driver you have called.
  • Report any unacceptable behavior to the ride-share company and the police.

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