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Uber, Lyft need safety upgrades

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Uber and Lyft are popular transportation programs in the United States, particularly for college students and young adults looking for cheaper and faster ways for transportation, yet the program has not shown any dedication to improving consumer safety, even after a series of cases where riders have been robbed or even killed while riding in an Uber or Lyft.

On March 29, University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson mistakenly got into a vehicle that she thought was her Uber ride. This has prompted more people to be aware of their surroundings, including scanning the cars’ license plates and asking the drivers who they are here for.

Uber and Lyft need to improve and revamp their method of recruiting employers. The qualifications for both companies include: having a car that is less than 10 years old, a clean driving record, be at least 21 years old and have at least one year of driving experience in the U.S. (three if under 23 years old).

On paper, the requirements sound strict, but are actually minimal compared to cab drivers. For example, in San Francisco, where Uber and Lyft were established, cab drivers are required to show proof of residency, clean hygiene, speak English and complete taxi driving training.

In Los Angeles, they are required to have fingerprints on file and pass a nationwide FBI criminal background check. Passengers may still be at risk in a taxi, but their chances of being a victim of rape, robbery or murder are a lot slimmer compared to Uber and Lyft’s qualifications, which demonstrates the crucial importance of placing stronger background checks.

Within weeks after the death of Josephson, Uber announced that they will plan to launch a social media campaign and send push notifications during pickup to remind passengers to take safety precautions, while Lyft will continue to provide driver photos and vehicle information. A South Carolina bill was also introduced last week that would require Uber and Lyft drivers to have illuminated signs, which is a step toward consumer safety.

A 2018 study by the University of Chicago and Rice University found a 2-3% increase in motor vehicle fatalities and fatal accidents since the arrival of rideshare programs.

Although Rideshare programs are convenient in terms of saving money and time, along with easier traveling across a big city, but should not cost someone’s life or safety and it is now the rideshare programs duty to amend this issue.

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