Uber’s Second Chance Policy Draws Criticism

San Francisco-based ridesharing company Uber is garnering criticism regarding its second chance policy after an operator behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber vehicle hit and killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe Sunday night.

Authorities said that laine Herzberg was walking a bike across Mill Avenue outside the crosswalk near the Marquee Theatre about 10 p.m. Sunday when she was hit by the vehicle that was in autonomous mode being operated by 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez.

Vasquez served almost four years in an Arizona prison in the early 2000s on an attempted armed robbery conviction. The company’s public hiring policy states: “Everyone deserves a fair chance.”

An Uber spokeswoman said, “Vehicle operators in Arizona undergo a screening process that checks local, state and national databases and meets local requirements by law. The vehicle operator met these requirements.”

However, Uber drivers are disqualified in other states if they have convictions on felonies, sexual offenses, violent crimes, DUI or drug-related driving offenses, speeding more than 100 mph or child abuse or endangerment in the past seven years. 

According to the company’s website, “One mistake shouldn’t have to lead to a lifetime of punishment. At Uber, we are committed to working within our communities to help provide opportunities to those who need them most.”