Sexual assaults and other safety-related issues are unfortunately a reality in the ride-hailing business. Uber, which has been the subject of some of these allegations, just announced the ability for riders to text 911 from within the app.
During a ride, riders can access Uber’s safety toolkit to text 911 a prepopulated message of all the pertinent information, like the car license plate, where they’re going and their exact location.
“We know that in an emergency, every second counts,” Uber Senior Director of Product Management Sachin Kansal said at an Uber event today. “The combination of being able to text 911 through the app and being able to send the exact location through the Uber app is an absolute game changer, and law enforcement professionals tell us that this can potentially save lives.”
This comes shortly after The Washington Post reported how Uber’s investigations team works to limit the company’s liability. Between 2014-2018, CNN found 103 Uber drivers who had been accused of sexual assault or abuse of passengers.
Uber first added 911 assistance to its app in May 2018 in partnership with RapidSOS. Uber will launch this 911 text feature next month in Los Angeles in partnership with local law enforcement. Down the road, Uber hopes to launch the feature in additional markets throughout the U.S.