Uber New Safety Features: Full Story & Must-See Details

On Thursday, April 18, 2019, Uber began to implement a new alert system for its riders. These measures include more reminders to double-check the car and driver information that riders are provided with on their phone app.

Specifically, the alerts are two-fold – once as an in-app message (when you first open the app), and again as push notifications (after you’ve ordered a ride). They remind riders to verify both the car – the license plate, make and model – and the driver’s name and photo, before getting into the vehicle.

“When you first open the app, a banner at the bottom says ‘check your ride every time’,” an NBC article said. “After ordering a ride, users will be sent a second warning to check the driver’s license plate, name and photo. A third notification will then appear before the driver arrives — this one a push alert — again reminding the rider to check and make sure it’s the correct ride.”

The alert system was put in place in South Carolina on Thursday, but will be gradually implemented to the rest of Uber users soon.

Reason for the new safety alert system

YouTube (CNN)

These measures come shortly after, and in response to, the murder of Samantha Josephson by Nathaniel David Rowland. Josephson was a student at the University of South Carolina, who (in late March) accidentally got into a car that she thought was her Uber. In fact, this alert system was created and put in place in partnership with the University of South Carolina.

NBC News had an exclusive interview with Tony West, Uber’s chief legal and security officer, during which he addressed the connection between Josephson’s murder and Uber’s new features. According to the NBC article, “‘We are heartbroken about what has happened,’ West told NBC News in an interview that aired Thursday on TODAY. ‘For us, it’s a reminder that we have to constantly do everything we can to raise the bar on safety’.”

Additional safety measures – present and future

Uber car service on the streets of New York

Shutterstock (MikeDotta)

In addition to these new reminders, Uber also has a list of additional safety measures on its website. It includes tips such as “Check Your Ride” and “Have the driver confirm your name.”

Furthermore, Uber is trying to create specific measures for college students. “The company says it also will be working with universities nationwide to develop dedicated pick-up zones on and off campus and a ride voucher program to provide subsidized rides for students at times when other ways home are limited or unavailable,” the NBC article said.

A bill was also recently created in South Carolina, not long after Josephson’s death, that would require ridesharing drivers (including those at Uber and Lyft) to have bright signs displayed in their car, so as to indicate that they work for one of the companies. The Samantha Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act, co-sponsored by South Carolina House of Representatives politicians Seth Rose and Micah Caskey, was passed by the South Carolina House on April 9, and was sent to the South Carolina Senate to be voted on.

However, Uber has objected to this bill, “say[ing] the illuminated signs — which can be purchased cheaply online — could actually heighten the risk of imposter drivers,” according to a The State article. “The bill also has drawn skepticism from national rideshare safety experts.”

Also, consider investing in bumper protection to keep your car’s value up. For more information on car bumper protection, check out this review from Car Bibles website.

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