The Lyft background check - what it is all about and how to pass
Last updated: February 6, 2023
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The Lyft background check - what it is all about and how to pass
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The birth of ridesharing companies changed global transportation in a huge way. Who would have imagined that one could access cost-effective, quick, and convenient rides through a mobile app?

Well, that's the norm now, but when Lyft started operations in 2012, people were a bit skeptical, and for a good reason.

Safety.

If you get into a car with someone you’ve never met before, you need some assurance that you can trust this person, right?

That is why all drivers must undergo a rigorous background check before they are allowed to drive for Lyft.

Once you’re cleared as a person of good standing, Lyft and its customers can be confident that no one’s safety is at risk.

The Lyft background check is mandatory for any driver, and this article will break down what it's all about to help you better understand your chances of passing it.

What is the Lyft background check?

Lyft is a popular ridesharing company, similar to Uber. The company itself doesn't own any cars — instead, it runs a platform where drivers can offer rides to customers using their own cars.

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Like any job or gig, interested drivers have to meet a set of requirements before they are allowed to work. Anyone who meets them can apply for an opportunity to drive for Lyft. The application process is available online.

Safety issues remain a problem for Lyft and other ridesharing companies. Because of this, the company screens every prospective driver.

Lyft has a “safety threshold” that all drivers must meet before they are allowed to work on the platform. Those who don’t meet the threshold will not be hired.

The Lyft background check can be a tense step for any applicant. The safety score isn't published, and many drivers who might have had a record or two in their past wonder if their application will be successful or not.

To help you get a better idea of what will pop up on your record, let’s look at the driving requirements for Lyft and what the company evaluates in its background check.

Driver requirements for Lyft

All Lyft drivers must meet certain requirements. However, state jurisdictions vary, and you should always check with your specific one for any special requirements.

Let’s take a look at some of the general requirements you’ll need to meet.

1. Age requirements

The required age to work at Lyft depends on your state or city, but the range is between 19–25 years. For instance, in Alaska, drivers must be 25 years old or above. In New York City, you must be at least 19 years old.

2. Vehicle requirements

Lyft wants customers to enjoy a quality experience when they order rides on its platform. As such, the company has specific vehicle requirements, which are also heavily influenced by state and city laws.

For starters, all Lyft vehicles must have a minimum of five seatbelts and four doors. Taxis and limousines aren't allowed. Subcompact cars are acceptable.

All states have specific rules that narrow down the cars drivers can use. For instance, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) in NYC governs all vehicle requirements in this location. All vehicles must undergo a TLC inspection and pass before the driver can operate on Lyft.

3. Driving history

This requirement falls under the background check. However, one thing to keep in mind is licensed driving experience is a key requirement in specific states.

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If you recently moved to another state or got a new driver’s license, you likely won't pass this step and will have to upload proof of driving experience to proceed.

4. Driver licensing and insurance

All Lyft drivers must have a valid driver’s license. Their vehicles should have valid registration plates and a valid insurance policy with the driver’s name on it.

Some regions don't require the driver’s name to appear on the insurance. In such cases, they'll need a declaration from the insurance company with the driver’s name on it.

Check with your state to see if there are any additional in-state requirements you should have.

5. Technology requirements

Drivers need a smartphone that supports the Lyft application. They'll log into the Lyft platform through this app once they meet all requirements and start working as a driver.

6. Community safety education program

Finally, all Lyft drivers will need to complete a community safety education program. This is a mandatory program offered in partnership with Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). It aims to reduce unpleasant and dangerous experiences on Lyft rides by educating drivers and the whole community on correct behavior.

What does Lyft look for in its background check?

Lyft contracts a third-party company called Checkr to run its background checks. All this is done with your consent, which you’ll need to give when completing your application.

In the U.S., drivers must provide their full names and Social Security number to Checkr. Once the background check process starts, you can see its progress on Checkr’s applicant portal.

The background check looks at two items — your criminal history and driving record.

Criminal record

Checkr will run your details across various registries. The National Sex Offender Registry database is the first check, and you'll be disqualified if your name is listed here. Lyft doesn't tolerate sexual offenses, as these are what form the bulk of all safety issues with its rides in the past.

Other disqualifying offenses under the criminal background check include:

  • Terrorism

  • Violent crime like kidnapping, homicide, human trafficking, arson, robbery, or aggravated assault

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Fraud offenses

  • Drug trafficking

  • Theft or property damage

Checkr searches for criminal convictions spanning up to the last seven years, save for specific regions that have their own restrictions on the time frame that these records are valid for.

DMV check

Another third-party company named Safety Holdings Inc. runs the driving record check. Through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), it checks to see if you have any driving-related convictions and compares them against Lyft's internal driving safety standards.

Lyft may disqualify an applicant if they:

  • Have more than four moving violations in the past three years

  • Have a serious traffic-related conviction such as hit and run in the past seven years

  • Were involved in a DUI or a drug-related driving violation in the past seven years

  • Have a single major moving violation like reckless driving in the past three years

In some states, different entities handle the DMV part of the background check. For instance, TLC conducts checks for drivers in NYC.

Lyft will gather the results from Checkr and Safety Holdings Inc. and decide if you are fit to drive on its platform. However, it isn't all black and white. Some drivers get marginal results and might have grounds to support a claim, allowing them to qualify to work for Lyft.

How long does a Lyft background check take?

The check takes between three and ten days. However, this isn't always the case, as some issues can extend the time. Drivers can check the status of their application on Checkr’s candidate portal.

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Checkr has to check various state records, and not all of them are available online. Some states take longer to return checks. Additionally, if there are lots of checks running at that time, yours might take longer.

While computers run the checks, marginal ones require human discretion, which can also take time. These could be ones where the driver has a record of small felonies that aren't necessarily dismissable but raise some concern.

Some checks don't go through smoothly due to missing or inconsistent records. In such cases, Checkr may require you to supply additional information before completing the check.

You cannot do much to expedite the check apart from supplying the correct information and doing a separate one yourself. An independent check can help tie up any loose ends with your records and give you a rough idea of how Checkr’s report will turn out.

What happens if I don't pass the Lyft background check?

Lyft is transparent with its background checks and will send you a report of its findings and reasons for disqualification. If you don't pass, study the report carefully and see if it is accurate.

It isn't uncommon to see inaccurate driving or criminal offenses on your report. If there is an issue here, contact Checkr to dispute this, and the company will look into it. If possible, send supporting information to validate your claim, as this can help speed up the dispute process.

If the background check is accurate, but you don’t believe that it is means for disqualification, contact Lyft. You can share your concerns with the company, plus any information that you have to support your reasoning.

How many times does Lyft run a background check?

Lyft conducts a background check on every applicant, but it doesn't end here.

To help maintain the safety of everyone within its community, Lyft conducts continuous checks on its active drivers to make sure they meet the required standards. Drivers receive a pop-up on their account to consent to a background check after a year or so.

Lyft is very intentional about the safety of its drivers. Applicants and existing drivers are all required to meet the minimum safety threshold. The company will likely remove any existing drivers from its platform if they break the law or their score drops below the threshold.

Continuous checks might look like overkill, but they're good for everyone. Improved safety means more customers on Lyft and, consequently, more money for drivers.

What happens after passing the check?

Congratulations, you're officially a Lyft driver and can log in to the application and start working. The Lyft support team is available 24/7, and you can contact 911 directly from the app.

Once you go online, toggle the steering wheel icon to start receiving ride requests.

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Click on “earnings” to see how much you've made, and use the “referrals” for a unique code you can share with friends and family. The side menu button opens up additional options as shown below:

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The Dashboard menu gives driver resources. “Vehicle” lets you add multiple cars, and “Settings” allows you to enter your bank information for payments.

Working for Lyft

Are you ready to earn money as a Lyft driver?

All Lyft drivers must pass a background check. If you don't pass it due to your past record, don’t worry. You can find other rideshare companies and similar gigs that offer opportunities for people to make money.

The Jobcase board has a lot of job openings, so check it out to find one that matches your interests and talents.

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