When we think about passenger safety in a vehicle, the conversation generally relates to safety in the event of an auto accident. In the case of Uber, however, the conversation relates to passenger safety of another type – safety from sexual assault.
On September 25, The Washington Post published an article discussing Uber’s special investigations unit. These 80 specialized employees investigate and handle incident reports from Uber passengers. Per Uber policy, they do not route complaints to police, and they do not encourage passengers to seek legal counsel.
In response to the highly-critical article in The Washington Post, Uber has announced plans to up their safety features. Last month, the “RideCheck” feature was unveiled. This system alerts drivers and passengers when something is out of place, such as a long wait time or a possible accident. If needed, the driver or passenger can request assistance. The app offers the following options:
- Call 911
- Call Uber Safety Line
- Report a Crash
- Add/Change Destination
Uber also plans to add more safety features to the app in the future. Unfortunately, the company’s actual launch of safety upgrades seems to be slow-moving. RideCheck was first announced in September 2018, but has been in a state of development and refining since.
The implementation of RideCheck comes just after Uber was named in a lawsuit filed by 14 women who allege sexual assault by Uber drivers. The lawsuit estimates at least 100 more women have made reports, and could join litigation.