Uber and Lyft have been getting a lot of publicity lately, but not the type any company wants. Women have filed lawsuits against both ride-hailing companies, alleging sexual assault from drivers.
- Levin Simes Abrams, a San Francisco law firm, is soliciting plaintiffs who have been assaulted while using Uber and Lyft.
- Both ride-hailing companies have adopted more stringent vetting of their drivers’ criminal records, yet resisted calls for enhanced background checks, biometric fingerprinting and in-car surveillance.
- To reassure customers and employees they take safety seriously, both companies have implemented more features to protect both passengers and drivers.
Women have sued ride-hailing companies after being assaulted, insisting that Uber and Lyft need to do more to protect passengers. (Photo: Getty Images)
Last year Uber added a “panic button” on the app’s home screen when riding, which directly connects to 911. Although Lyft had promised to do the same, it didn’t happen until this past month, after widespread negative publicity surrounding lawsuits against the company. Lyft also matched Uber’s RideCheck feature with its own version, called Smart Trip Check-In. Both apps now contact drivers and riders if there’s a long delay in their trip, and offer help including summoning emergency assistance.
Uber passengers can now instantly text 911 in an emergency with details about the trip. And to prevent anyone from impersonating an Uber driver, the company has started using a four-digit PIN so that passengers can verify their driver, who is unable to begin the ride without this verification.
WHY THIS MATTERS
People want to feel safe using ride-hailing services. Uber and Lyft don’t want to lose customers over safety fears. But the risks inherent in getting into a car driven by a stranger remain. Hopefully the publicity brought by these lawsuits will prompt riders to better protect themselves and the companies to enhance their focus on safety.