It has taken many years, but Uber last month finally announced safety upgrades that it says will help to keep its ride-hail customers in the U.S. safe.
Uber stated that it would first add an emergency 911 feature like a panic button, which would connect a passenger directly with emergency personnel and to share the vehicle location with the operator. Uber also said it would increase driver screening by requiring an annual review of background checks to ensure that drivers are still qualified to drive for the company. The company also will allow riders to share trip info with trusted contacts. That way, every trip will have several sets of eyes to ensure that the ride is a smooth one.
The safety upgrades are expected to be in place this summer and were unveiled as part of a strategy that CEO Dara Khosrowshahi stated was part of an effort to increase safety of the Uber app and ride experience.
In previous years, Uber only did background checks in areas where it was required by state or local law. From now on, Uber said it would rerun background checks – both criminal and motor vehicle – every year, whether or not there is a legal requirement.
The changes are being marketed as positive and proactive, but insiders say the announcements are essentially an admission that Uber has fallen short on public safety. Khosrowshahi seems to be trying to repair Uber’s damaged image a year after ex-CEO Travis Kalanick left the firm.
Uber has received heat from regulators for what they say are lax driver screening standards. The company long resisted background checks with fingerprinting, which is more expensive, but is noted by law enforcement officials to be more effective. Uber left the Austin, TX, market three years ago when local regulations required fingerprinting, but the company did return in May 2017.
Fears about passenger safety were shown to be valid in 2016 when an Uber driver went on a shooting rampage in Michigan. He allegedly killed six and reportedly picked up passengers before and after the shooting spree. The driver, Jason Dalton, did not have a criminal record before the shooting, so the background checks in place would not have disqualified him from driving.
Uber Safety Upgrades – Will It Be Enough?
The personal injury attorneys at Neale & Fhima hope the recent safety upgrades by Uber will be enough to keep drivers safe, but if an accident happens and you are injured, you should be aware of your legal options.
Uber has a $1 million liability policy in effect when a customer is in a vehicle being driven by an Uber driver, who is an independent contractor. If you are injured and need to file suit, you would sue the at-fault driver and serve copies of the lawsuit documents on that driver. The attorneys at Neale & Fhima can assist you with this process.
Contact A Southern California Personal Injury Attorney Now
If you are in a car accident with an Uber driver, you may have serious injuries that are causing you pain and suffering and time off work. If so, you could have a right to be compensated for your losses. Neale & Fhima has many years of experience holding reckless drivers accountable for their actions. If you have been injured by a reckless Uber driver or any driver, please contact our law offices — serving Los Angeles and Orange counties — for a complimentary consultation.