Uber Unveils New 'Check Your Ride' Feature After Student's Tragic Death
On Thursday, Uber announced its plans to roll out new features to ensure its customers remain safe on their rides.
The announcement came just weeks after Samantha Josephson, a 21-year-old University of South Carolina student, was murdered after she got into a car she mistook for her Uber.
The new feature, NBC reported, will include a push alert sent to all riders before they enter any vehicle. The alert will ask riders to check the license plate along with the make and model of the car. It will also provide the name and picture of the driver so riders can check, as well as ask the rider to confirm the driver’s name.
"We are heartbroken about what has happened,'' Tony West, Uber's chief legal and security officer, told TODAY about Josephson’s death. "For us, it's a reminder that we have to constantly do everything we can to raise the bar on safety."
According to NBC, when a user opens the app they will also be presented with a banner, which reads, "check your ride every time." Then, a second notification will pop up after ordering a ride, along with a third notification just before the driver arrives to again check to make sure it’s the real driver.
Beyond the notifications, Uber is also working with major U.S. universities, starting with the University of South Carolina, to place dedicated pickup locations on campuses to further ensure a safe ride.
"The more information you can give to customers, the better," Kelly Nantel, vice president of communications and advocacy at the National Safety Council, told NBC. "As ride-shares increase, I think it's really important that riders have confidence not just in the safety of the vehicle, but also in their security. I think these are steps that move this industry in the right direction."