Last week, Uber announced their plans for a major safety overhaul. A new feature in the app will allow drivers to more easily contact emergency services in the case of an emergency and directly call 911 from the home screen of the app. With Uber being in the news a lot over the past few years in regards to safety concerns, they have received a great deal of criticism about their safety (or lack thereof). Therefore, the addition of this new feature was created with the hope of providing Uber customers with assurance of a safe ride.
So how does this new safety feature work? Apparently, there will now be a “safety center” on the homescreen, where users can tap and easily dial 911, read about Uber’s screening process for drivers, and get up to date information about insurance and Uber’s rules and guidelines. The new and improved app will also allow users to designate up to five people to share their location with during their entire ride.
There are still concerns that even if users can now more easily contact 911 through the Uber app, emergency responders still may not be able to locate them quick enough. There are location accuracy issues that need to be addressed to ensure that law enforcement will be able to locate the user and make this new feature even better. Uber says that they have plans to invest money into improving communications between emergency dispatch centers. Uber also claims to be making their driver screening process much stricter than it has been in the past and will check for new violations by drivers each year. Hopefully, innovations like these will lead to other companies in the ride sharing industry increasing their safety measures when designing new technology.
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