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Uber fined $8.9 million by Colorado for allowing drivers with felony convictions, other driver’s license issues

Colorado regulators slapped Uber with an $8.9 million penalty for allowing 57 people with past criminal or motor vehicle offenses to drive for the company, the state’s Public Utilities Commission announced Monday.

The PUC said Uber had 57 drivers who were disqualified to drive for transportation network companies that are ride-sharing services allowed under state law. Those drivers had a litany of issues, including major moving violations such as driving under the influence, reckless driving and driving under restraint. Some Uber drivers also had their licenses revoked, suspended or canceled.

“We have determined that Uber had background check information that should have disqualified these drivers under the law, but they were allowed to drive anyway,” PUC Director Doug Dean said in a statement. “These actions put the safety of passengers in extreme jeopardy.

An Uber spokeswoman was reviewing the case and did not have immediate comment.

Uber was welcomed to Colorado in June 2014, when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 125 to authorize ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. The PUC was then charged with creating rules to regulate the services, which went into effect on Jan. 30, 2016.

Part of the new rules forced the transportation network companies to perform a criminal history record check and get the driver’s history before letting someone drive. Drivers also must have a valid driver’s license.

Drivers are disqualified if they have been convicted of certain offenses, including having felony convictions, alcohol or drug-related driving offenses, unlawful sexual offenses and major moving vehicle violations.

But much of vetting was left up to the company. Taxi drivers, by comparison, had stricter criminal background checks and are subject to fingerprint background checks by the FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Monday’s fine is a civil penalty assessment and based on a citation of $2,500 per day for each disqualified driver found to have worked. Among the findings, 12 drivers had felony convictions, 17 had major moving violations, 63 had driver’s license issues and three had interlock driver’s licenses, which is required after a recent drunk driving conviction.

Only those with a driver’s license issue and another violation were part of the 57 drivers who included in the penalty.

Uber has 10 days to pay 50 percent of the $8.9 million penalty or request a hearing to contest the violation before an administrative law judge.

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Lunch Special: Denver sports chat with Mark Kiszla

Want to talk about the Broncos latest loss to the Bengals? Or how about the firing of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy? The live chat is scheduled to begin at noon.

The chat window is open now. Feel free to submit your questions below.

Hey gang, welcome to another edition of the Lunch Special. Today we'll be joined by columnist Mark Kiszla who will chat all things Denver sports. There's plenty to react to after the Broncos loss yesterday, the Avs' OT win, a NASCAR title for Martin Truex, the ejections of Nikola Jokic and Michael Malone last night, and the firing of Mike McCoy this morning. Feel free to submit your questions now! The chat is scheduled to start at noon.
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Broncos Insider: “Soft” served

The Denver Post Sports section, Nov. 20, 2017
The Denver Post
“Soft” served. The front page of The Denver Post Sports section for Monday, Nov. 20, 2017.

Just when it seemingly couldn’t get worse, the Broncos pulled a Lloyd Christmas and totally redeemed themselves… except not. The Broncos fell 20-17 to the Bengals on Sunday for first time at home in more than 40 years, plummeting to another level of lowness.

By Monday morning, head coach Vance Joseph had decided he’d seen enough of his team’s anemic offense. The ax came down on offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who oversaw the offense for the NFL’s 24th ranked scoring team. Quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave was promoted.

Columnist Mark Kiszla described the scene in the locker room after the game as running back C.J. Anderson’s tears turned to sobs. “Is this what John Elway calls soft?” Kiszla wrote.

And speaking of the comments Elway made about his team on Friday, the Broncos got a chance to respond after the game on Sunday. Von Miller said he was taken aback, but there was some truth behind the boss’ words.

He said it

“I feel like I went to Vegas and made a crazy bet and just lost it. I feel sick.”

— Von Miller, after the Broncos’ sixth straight loss

Quick Hits

+ The Broncos’ defense thought it had a winning hand. Instead, it came up painfully empty.

Photos: Cincinnati Bengals at Broncos.

+ Special teams units rebound for Broncos, only to see their biggest play get wasted.

Grading the Broncos in their 20-17 loss to the Bengals.

Watch: Brock Osweiler connects with Demaryius Thomas on a TD against the Bengals.

+ Bengals’ Dre Kirkpatrick fumbles his way to NFL record during 101-yard interception return.

Watch: Bengals’ Dre Kirkpatrick really long interception (and fumble).

Vontaze Burfict’s defensive intensity spurs Bengals to a potential season-shifting win.

Paxton Lynch was the Broncos’ backup QB vs. Bengals.

+ Trevor Siemian, Isaiah McKenzie among Broncos’ inactives vs. Bengals.

Red Miller joins Broncos Ring of Fame; Terrell Davis celebrates Hall of Fame induction with fans.

+ Broncos unveil Ring of Fame pillar for late coach Red Miller.

Hall of Fame president: “Pretty soon we’ll be knocking on the door of the Bowlen family.”

+ Terrell Davis returns. But he hardly recognizes his former team.

Broncos waive TE A.J. Derby, promote Austin Traylor from practice squad.

Game of mismatches: Why opposing tight ends have caused trouble for Broncos’ defense.

+ C.J. Anderson planning sports and academic complex for youth in hometown.

+ Garett Bolles has started every game this season. The rest of Denver’s rookie class is still finding its way.

Kiszla: Need a reason to smile, Broncos Country? You need more Nikola Jokic.

He said it

“Nobody is soft on this team.”

— Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, responding to remarks made by John Elway

Next game

Sunday, Nov. 26 at Oakland Raiders (4-6), 2:25 p.m.
TV: KCNC-4; Radio: 850 AM, 103.5 FM
Opening points spread: Raiders favored by 5
Opening total points: 43

Contact me

If you see something that’s cause for question or have a comment, thought or suggestion, email me at msanelli@denverpost.com, call me at 303-954-1017 or tweet me @mariosanellidp.

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