Uber vows again to improve passenger safety

Uber is reminding its customers that it plans to make changes for safety.On Monday, the company sent an email ...

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 11:38 AM
Updated: Jun 5, 2018 11:38 AM

Uber is reminding its customers that it plans to make changes for safety.

On Monday, the company sent an email to its app users emphasizing its commitment to improving driver screening and passenger safety. The company also outlined a list of safety features it began rolling out earlier this year.

The features include the ability to share trip details with "trusted contacts," a button to call 911 from within the app, as well as a pledge to re-run background checks on drivers each year.

This comes after CNN reported the company had approved thousands of drivers with disqualifying criminal histories, according to state agencies and lawsuits.

Monday's email did not include other forms of driver screening called for by some state regulators and attorneys who are suing Uber, such as in-person interviews, additional government oversight, or fingerprint-based background checks performed on all potential drivers.

Related: Thousands of criminals were cleared to be Uber drivers. Here's how rideshare companies fought stronger checks

CNN reported that Uber led a massive lobbying effort, along with competitor Lyft, to push back on many government efforts to add other layers of scrutiny to the screening process. Out of 43 states that have passed laws on rideshare driver screening processes, all except Massachusetts give rideshare companies the sole responsibility of background checking their drivers. CNN found Uber played a role shaping the language of many of those laws.

Some state agencies in California, Colorado, Maryland and Massachusetts have done additional screening of varying degrees and found what add up to thousands of drivers with criminal records they deemed disqualifying, even though those drivers cleared rideshare companies' private checks.

Uber first announced a series of added safety measures in April, which followed questions from CNN for an earlier report that found more than 100 Uber drivers had been accused of sexual assault or abuse.

Those measures also included investment in new technology to identify offenses by drivers as they occur and an "emergency button" within the app that allows passengers to quickly share their location with police. The emergency button launched last week.

Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who joined the company in 2017, has said safety is his No. 1 priority for the company this year.

"When we fall short, we commit to being open, taking responsibility for the problem, and fixing it," he said in an ad released in May.

Uber also said in May it will no longer force into arbitration passengers who allege they have been sexually assaulted or harassed by drivers.

But Uber and rideshare companies Lyft, Juno, Curb, and Via faced additional questions -- after the initial CNN report -- from nine members of Congress who asked that they detail their protocols related to complaints about sexual assault or harassment and driver training on the topics.

Related: After CNN report, lawmakers want answers from Uber, Lyft on sexual assaults

In response, Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony West sent a letter on May 25 that listed the previously announced safety features and said if police or customers report sexual assaults by drivers, Uber immediately blocks those drivers' access to the app and investigates further.

West did not provide details for the lawmakers' question on whether Uber maintains records of drivers who have been accused of sexual assault, but he said the company has committed to publishing a "safety transparency report" that will include data on assault and other incidents that occur on its platform. He also did not say whether Uber shares information on drivers accused of sexual assault with other rideshare companies.

Denver police took an Uber driver into custody on Friday for investigation of first-degree murder after his passenger was shot and killed.

Colorado's Public Utilities Commission is seeking to fine Uber more than $4 million for allowing 45 drivers with disqualifying records, based on state law. Uber has challenged the fine, which remains pending before an administrative judge.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 76°
Florence
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 83°
Fayetteville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 83°
Scottsboro
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 75°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48588

Reported Deaths: 1042
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5687161
Mobile4315136
Montgomery4275109
Tuscaloosa238248
Marshall181511
Madison16208
Lee146337
Shelby141424
Morgan11575
Baldwin10399
Walker101825
Elmore97519
Dallas9189
Franklin90616
Etowah83413
DeKalb7905
Chambers64727
Autauga64312
Butler63728
Tallapoosa60669
Russell5890
Unassigned53826
Houston5366
Limestone5251
Lauderdale5146
Cullman4905
Lowndes47922
Pike4525
Colbert4426
St. Clair4402
Escambia4358
Calhoun4035
Coffee3923
Covington38110
Bullock36910
Barbour3622
Jackson3432
Talladega3337
Dale3261
Marengo32011
Hale31722
Wilcox2958
Clarke2876
Sumter28512
Winston2773
Chilton2762
Blount2581
Monroe2442
Pickens2446
Marion24114
Randolph2289
Conecuh2187
Macon2029
Choctaw19912
Bibb1981
Greene1888
Perry1791
Henry1403
Crenshaw1253
Washington1217
Lawrence1130
Cherokee1117
Geneva860
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa601
Cleburne391
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 55986

Reported Deaths: 685
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby12549208
Davidson12234132
Rutherford323437
Hamilton300736
Sumner172755
Williamson151515
Trousdale15035
Knox13929
Out of TN12307
Wilson106017
Putnam9267
Robertson87511
Bradley8744
Sevier8573
Unassigned8302
Lake6960
Tipton6625
Bledsoe6241
Montgomery6207
Bedford5898
Macon5114
Maury4063
Hamblen3974
Hardeman3744
Fayette3443
Madison3392
Loudon3021
Rhea2930
Blount2723
Dyer2703
McMinn25518
Cheatham2432
Dickson2310
Washington1970
Cumberland1934
Lawrence1926
Anderson1662
Lauderdale1643
Sullivan1592
Jefferson1481
Gibson1471
Monroe1416
Smith1362
Coffee1320
Greene1222
Hardin1197
Obion1172
Cocke1160
Haywood1082
Franklin1013
Marshall1011
Warren1000
Hickman950
Wayne900
Marion874
McNairy841
Lincoln780
Giles771
White773
Carter751
Roane710
DeKalb700
Overton671
Weakley671
Hawkins662
Grundy652
Campbell621
Claiborne590
Henderson560
Unicoi560
Carroll491
Chester480
Grainger480
Polk480
Henry470
Crockett443
Johnson440
Sequatchie420
Cannon410
Humphreys352
Perry350
Meigs340
Jackson330
Morgan291
Fentress250
Stewart250
Decatur240
Scott210
Union190
Clay180
Moore170
Houston160
Benton131
Hancock90
Lewis70
Van Buren70
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events