HAMILTON, NJ -- Hamilton Assemblyman Dan Benson is continuing his push to make rideshares safer by introducing legislation that would require transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft to share information with the public about sexual misconduct investigations of a driver.
The companies would be able to ban drivers from accessing their digital network during and following an investigation.
The legislative proposal, Benson said, comes after a report last month of a Mercer County man accused of sexually assaulting a passenger after driving her from a Trenton nightclub to her Ewing home.
“Rideshare customers have a right to feel safe when using rideshare services and that starts with transparency,” said Benson, the chairman of the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. “As our transportation system continues to evolve and more people use rideshare services, we must take the necessary steps to safeguard consumers from potential harm.”
Since its inception, Uber has reported more than 3,000 sexual assaults over the course of the company’s 1.3 billion rides. According to a report released by Uber, both drivers and riders were attacked, including some incidents between riders.
In addition, the bill would mandate more stringent reporting on the part of both applicants and TNC companies including requiring the disclosure of any prior TNC experience and whether they were the subject of a sexual misconduct investigation while working for that company. Law enforcement agencies could provide a TNC with the public record of an individual’s arrest and conviction information if the sexual misconduct charge was in connection with a prearranged ride.
“New Jersey has the opportunity to continue to lead the nation in ensuring rideshare safety for both riders and drivers,” said Benson. “We must do everything we can to help keep passengers safe from predators who would try to harm them as they are driven to and from their destinations.”
Benson previously authored a law to initiate safeguards for rideshare passengers, an action that came after the tragic 2019 death of Robbinsville resident Samantha Josephson who was brutally murdered while attending college in South Carolina, allegedly by an individual she mistook as a driver for a ridesharing service.
That law requires rideshare companies to provide every driver that uses its digital network with a barcode that is unique to that driver and to that driver’s personal vehicle. This barcode is used for identification purposes when providing prearranged rides and may be scanned by a rider to confirm the identity of the driver and the personal vehicle.
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