End of the Road :Uber’s Safety Questioned Following Murder of College Student by Her Driver

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Following the release of Uber in 2010, many concerns and controversies came out relating to the safety of the company. Uber’s background check system is through a company called Checkr which looks if the person has any felony, violent, or sexual harassment charges within the past seven years. This differs from a Taxi Driver background check as they hold an in-person interview, plus fingerprints, and a level two background check.

However, Uber did not have a policy that updated background checks throughout the years until mid-2017, when they announced they will do background checks every two years. Recently, however, an Uber-related death of a college student occurred and has risen more questions about Uber’s safety. USC student Samantha Josephson was murdered on March 28 by a man she thought was her Uber.

This has caused lots of bad press to be directed towards Uber for their safety regulations and precautions. An Uber Spokesman responded to this attack saying, “Since 2017, we’ve been working with local law enforcement and college campuses across the country to educate the public about how to avoid fake rideshare drivers (…) we remain focused on raising public awareness about this incredibly important issue.”

However, Josephson’s death was not actually in result to Uber but from another issue. The ability to pretend to be an Uber or Lyft driver is very easy. Anyone is able to put an Uber sticker in/on their car and simply claim to be an Uber driver. It is especially easy when the customer is intoxicated or it is late at night when it can be harder to determine if your driver is legitimate or not.

This event serves as a reminder to be more aware of the person’s car you are getting into. Since the attack, Uber has released a list of precautions to take when taking a ride app to avoid another tragedy such as Josephson’s. Such as double check that the car you’re getting into matches what is said on the map. Another way to make sure you are being as possible when taking a ride app is to notify a friend or family member your whereabouts. Lastly, don’t let your friend ride alone if they are seriously intoxicated if possible. This could lead to an inability to protect oneself in case of attack.