Accessing daily transportation can be a struggle for some, or easy for others. Many college students don’t have a car on campus or can get around to different places easily. Luckily, an app like Uber, offers people a ride when and where they choose. But is Ubering a safe way to get around?
But is Ubering a safe way to get around? Questions concerning Uber safety are valid for new or frequent users using the ride share app.
Past issues with safety
Although Uber does a good job at keeping members of its app safe, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. CNN reported that “In 2020, Uber recorded 141 reports of rape on its platform in the United States.” There were intense investigations surrounding each of these rape reports and Uber handled each case accordingly and continued to strengthen background checks of drivers.
“About 91% of the victims of rape were riders and about 7% of the victims were drivers. Women made up
81% of the victims while men comprised about 15%”, O’Brien wrote.
These statistics from the various reports had alarmed Uber and to alleviate the danger and events like this happening again, they formulated new technology that would be used for its drivers. It said in the report that this feature has resulted in “more than 80,000 drivers being removed from its platform to date,” O’Brien wrote.
In a public US Safety report from 2019-2020, information was gathered and confirmed that “only 0.0002% of trips involved a critical safety event, and the rate of sexual assault decreased by over 30% since our last report,” Uber said.
Despite the incidents that prolonged for some time, Uber defends itself and shared that very few crimes existed since their previous collected report.
“Although these incidents are incredibly rare, we recognize that each one represents a devastating experience for the individuals, families, and communities impacted,” Uber said.
Uber doesn’t brush cases like this under the rug but rather takes each one seriously and is conscious of the repercussions it has on those affected.
Uber’s safety protocols and training
Uber is responsible for ensuring that riders will arrive safely. To start, Uber does a series of background checks to guarantee that those who choose to be Uber drivers are reliable employees. The background checks include searching for a criminal record, reviewing their driver’s license, and completing a drug test. The vehicle they drive will also be inspected and it must pass legal requirements.
Next up is training for Uber drivers. Every driver must follow through with a training program on how to properly utilize the app and a great understanding of how to navigating a GPS system.
If the worst occurs, and there is a car accident or injury, Uber insures both drivers and riders through AXA for all trips so that no one will have to panic about coverage.
Mitch Walz, junior marketing and computer information systems major, and Hailey Bond, sophomore nursing major, said they both use Uber often and believe Ubering is relatively safe.
“I use Uber occasionally on the weekends when going out. The only bad experiences I have had with Uber is when there are very few rides available or when the drivers cancel, but that is a rare occurrence,” Walz said.
“I think that Uber can be safe if you make sure you are with another person or friend, if Ubering by yourself, I think it can be unsafe,” Bond said. “I would say I use about four Ubers a week. I did have one bad experience while using Uber. The driver made an uncomfortable and inappropriate comment towards me. Other than that one time, I haven’t really had any bad experiences.”
One useful feature integrated into the app is the rider’s view of their driver’s vehicle, the license plate number, and the driver’s name and past ratings. If a user sees a driver has bad ratings, they can immediately cancel their ride.
Other helpful features
The app updates the rider’s map location in transit and notes the time that they will arrive at their stop. If a loved one is also on the app, they can access the rider’s location and monitor if the vehicle is moving or has been stopped. This can prevent a rider from being trapped in a risky environment.
Riders can contact Uber 24 hours a day. The app also has a button that can be used for an emergency service call. The rider and driver can also receive something called a “Ride Check” notification to make sure everything is going smoothly.
A rider’s feedback counts after an Uber drive. If a driver receives negative feedback and poor ratings, they could potentially lose their credentials.
The last final perks Uber’s app offers are a driver’s hour limits and a “random picture check.” Drivers must take a six-hour rest after they have been moving for a total of 12 hours. The “random picture check,” requires drivers to take a selfie, eliminating the issue of a driver not being in the correct vehicle.
Is Uber safe to trust?
Uber does its best to establish that all riders feel comfortable and stable with a driver and their vehicle, despite their record in the past of crimes committed.
Just because Uber may be seemingly secure, riders should trust their gut, trust their judgment, and make decisions accordingly to validate their safety. One single Uber drive could lead to a life-long memory.
“I believe Ubering is extremely safe and in many cases much more safe than driving especially when going to and from parties. Also, if you are Ubering with a group of people, it makes it even more safe,” Walz said.
For more information about Uber and its app visit here.