- Uber will be introducing new steps to educate the public on how to avoid fake rideshare drivers, after a University of South Carolina student was murdered after mistakenly getting into a car she believed to be her Uber ride, according to police.
- An Uber spokesperson told INSIDER that the company spoke with the University of South Carolina president on Tuesday and will be partnering with the university to raise awareness on college campuses nationwide.
- Uber’s announcement comes after South Carolina lawmakers introduced a bill that would require rideshare services, including Uber and Lyft, to display illuminated signs on their vehicles, in response to her death.
- The introduced bill will be titled the “Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act” in honour of the slain student.
Uber will be partnering with the University of South Carolina to raise awareness on college campuses across the country about how to avoid fake rideshare drivers – after a 21-year-old University of South Carolina student, Samantha Josephson, was murdered over the weekend after mistakenly getting into a car she believed to be her Uber ride, according to police.
In the coming weeks, the company will be introducing steps such as launching a Check Your Ride awareness campaign on social media, purchasing ads in college papers with a Check Your Ride PSA, promoting its in-app Safety Center to riders, and sending push notifications during pickup to remind riders of the Check Your Ride steps.
“Everyone at Uber is devastated to hear about this unspeakable crime, and our hearts are with Samantha Josephson’s family and loved ones,” an Uber spokesperson told INSIDER.
The news comes after South Carolina lawmakers said that they planned to introduce a bill on Tuesday that would require rideshare services, like Uber and Lyft, to display illuminated signs on their vehicles, in light of Josephson’s death.
The proposed bill, titled the “Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act” in honour of the slain student, would make it easier to identify rideshare vehicles and require signs to be visible from at least 50 feet away. Currently, South Carolina law requires reflective stickers to be displayed on car windshields “so as to be seen in darkness,” and allows those signs to be “magnetic or removable in nature.”
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“Helping riders avoid psychos is a no-brainer,” State Rep. Micah Caskey, a Republican who plans to cosponsor the bill, said on Twitter. “I’m hopeful we can get this bipartisanship bill through this legislature quickly.”
While Uber announced a feature called “Beacon” more than two years ago that was designed to attach to windshields and change colours so the rider knows which car is picking them up, it has only been released in a limited number of markets, according to the company’s website. The Uber spokesperson told INSIDER that they have been working with law enforcement since 2017 to educate the public about avoiding fake rideshares. The company acknowledged in a 2017 blog post that “unauthorised individuals may pose as rideshare drivers and target people who appear to be distracted or impaired.”
Lyft did not immediately respond to INSIDER’S request for comment.
“It makes me sick to my stomach that this happened,” Dem. Rep. Seth Rose, who plans to introduce the bill, told The Post and Courier. “I can’t imagine the pain the family’s going through. It’s a very senseless tragedy and disgusting act.”
— John A. Carlos II (@jac2photo) April 1, 2019
During a vigil for his daughter on Sunday, Seymour Josephson called out rideshare services and urged companies to improve safety.
“I don’t want anyone else to go through this again – I can’t tell you how painful this is,” Josephson told the crowd. “You guys have to travel together.”
- Read more:
- How to stay safe when taking an Uber or Lyft
- The mother of murdered South Carolina college student Samantha Josephson called her daughter’s alleged killer ‘evil’
- Lyft is having a messy first few days of trading
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