To keep riders safe, Uber recently unveiled a new safety alert system that reminds riders to check their Uber driver’s identity before getting in the car.
Will the Uber Safety App Protect Riders?
In the last few years, Uber and Lyft have experienced numerous complaints from passengers about their rideshare drivers and safety. Many complaints expressed fears about rideshare drivers who exhibited inappropriate behaviors such as foul language, obscene gestures, and sexual advances. Many passengers stated they feared for their safety after getting inappropriately cursed. groped, or touched while riding or entering and exiting rideshare vehicles.
Following hundreds of complaints about inappropriate conduct, alleged sexual assaults, and injuries to Uber passengers caused by drivers, the company took action to protect their riders. Uber introduced a new phone safety app that alerts riders to check the vehicle’s license plate, make and model, and the name and photo ID of the driver before getting into the car. The app was launched to protect riders from harm by ensuring the correct person is picking them up. When a person orders an Uber ride, the app sends frequent, persistent alerts to the person’s phone as a reminder to perform identity checks when the Uber arrives.
In March, a young South Carolina college student, Samantha Josephson, mistakenly got into a car she thought was her Uber ride. The following day, her parents reported her missing after she failed to return home after a night out with college friends. Days later, Josephson’s body was discovered by local hunters in a field 65 miles away from her pickup location. The 25-year-old man arrested and charged with her murder was posing as an Uber driver, but had no affiliation with the company. Uber and Lyft are popular rideshare services used daily by college students across the country, but Samantha Josephson’s death has brought up many safety concerns about fake drivers and student safety.
In a recent CNN investigation, reports from 2015 through 2018 show that approximately 103 Uber drivers around the country have been accused of abusing or sexually assaulting their passengers. The accused drivers are either wanted by police, arrested, or named in civil lawsuits for their actions. In addition to launching its new safety alert app for riders, Uber has also revamped and reinstated its background check policy to ensure annual background checks on drivers, a policy that was previously not mandated due to company budget restrictions and lax enforcement.