Massachusetts drivers who want to work for ride-hailing services such as Uber or Lyft will be undergoing stricter background checks beginning today.

Officials say Massachusetts' new background checks are the most stringent in the nation. The checks will be overseen by the state and are designed in part to keep registered sex offenders from driving for the companies.

Under the agreement, Uber and Lyft will perform multi-state criminal and driving checks for each driver, and also check them against the national sex offender database. State officials will also run each name through the Massachusetts criminal and sex offender registries, and check each driver's record with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

The checks not only apply to new drivers, but also to the tens of thousands already driving for the ride-hailing services.