Uber just hosted a conference call regarding Uber driver Jason Dalton, who is suspected in the killing of six people in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Saturday night. That night, Dalton allegedly picked up Uber passengers in between shootings. The call, which includes Uber Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan, and Ed Davis and Margaret Richardson of Uber's safety advisory board, has touched on background checks, the driver's rating, feedback system and firearms policy.
Before the incident, Dalton, had a 4.73 driver rating prior to the incident and generally received "favorable feedback," Sullivan said on the call. The max rating drivers can have is a five. If a driver's rating is below 4.6, that's when Uber might start to consider kicking that driver off the platform, according to a leaked Uber document from last year. Dalton was cleared to drive for Uber on Jan. 25, 2016 and in the following month, had completed slightly over 100 rides.
Dalton had passed Uber's background check and Dalton had no prior criminal record, according to Kalamazoo Prosecutor Jeff Getting. This is something Sullivan reiterated several times on the call, noting that no background check — whether or not it included fingerprinting — would have been able to predict or even suggest that something like this would've happened.
Dalton was arrested Sunday morning and arraigned today on six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder and eight felony firearm counts. Dalton has since admitted to carrying out those acts and waived his right against self-incrimination, ABC News recently reported.
Yesterday, Sullivan issued the following statement:
"We are horrified and heartbroken at the senseless violence in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this devastating crime and those recovering from injuries. We have reached out to the police to help with their investigation in any way that we can."
This comes shortly after Uber offered to pay a $28.5 million settlement over its Safe Ride Fee class action lawsuit. Uber first added the $1 safe ride fee in April 2014 to help pay for its safety program, which includes driver training, background checks and vehicle inspections. In the lawsuit, Uber passengers contend that they should not have had to pay the fee because the company's background checks were misleading and not "industry leading," as Uber had previously claimed. The lawsuits also cited "unfortunate incidents" that have happened to passengers during Uber rides.
If the judge approves the settlement, which we won't know for at least a few weeks, those included in the class action suits — passengers who rode with Uber between Jan. 1, 2013 and Jan. 31, 2016 — will be notified by email and given the option to be paid via credit card or their rider account. In the event that the judge does not approve Uber's proposed settlement, the company still plans to change the "Safe Ride Fee" to "Booking Fee."
This article by Megan Rose Dickey originally ran on TechCrunch, a leading technology media property, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.