With the speed at which new businesses are popping up these days it can be difficult for the law to catch up. Regulations that were written years or decades before some new endeavors were even possible can lead to difficulties in enforcing the law, or even knowing which laws to enforce. That's what's going on in California in regards to Shuddle, an on-demand ride service dedicated to getting kids around town.
The California Public Utilities Commission issued a cease and desist order to San Francisco Bay Area-based Shuddle back in November. The problem was that the company was not running background checks on their drivers through TrustLine, a state agency dedicated to people working in the child care field. Eight months later, the CPUC says they are still in non-compliance, but the service is still running.
Shuddle CEO Nick Allen says that they began to run their drivers through TrustLine last week, though he also says that the company's existing background check system is better, and faster, than TrustLine. According to Allen, TrustLine only searches county databases within California, while the system that Shuddle uses searches any place an applicant has lived in the last seven years.
While everybody appears to be in agreement that background checks are very necessary for a service like Shuddle, what makes it more than disconcerting is that the service remained in operation after being out of compliance for so long. Shuddle has only been in existence since the fall and it's likely that the state has simply never had to deal with a business like it before. As the law tries to understand how new businesses fit into existing regulations, it will likely result in businesses needing to make major changes long after they've begun serving their customers as well as the law needing to adapt quickly to the changing business landscape.