Uber is rolling out a series of new safety features for its ride-hailing service following the murder of a college student who got into the wrong car last month.
Launched as part of a Campus Safety Initiative alongside the University of South Carolina, Uber’s new app includes a push notification that reminds users to check their ride before getting inside, making sure the license plate, car details, driver’s photo match to the ones provided when the vehicle arrives to pick them up.
Users of Uber in the Five Points nightlife area in Columbia, South Carolina will also now be directed to a dedicated pickup zone in a well-lit area which has law enforcement on hand to ensure the safety of riders. The company says it will work with other universities across the United States to establish similar dedicated pickup zones.
Uber is also establishing an awareness campaign to inform every rider in the U.S. of the important safety precautions they should take before getting in a ride-hailing vehicle. It will also expand its #DontStandBy intervention partnershi,p which encourages the nightlife community to look out for each other and help prevent gender-based violence before it happens.
The introduction of these new features comes three weeks after 21-year-old Samantha Josephson, a University of South Carolina college student, mistakenly hopped into the back seat of a Chevrolet Impala which she thought was her Uber. As it turned out, it wasn’t, and its driver, 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland, has been charged with killing Josephson and dumping her body in a field in Clarendon County approximately 65 miles southeast of Columbia.