WASHINGTON, DC – As Congress considers legislation to address the rising national concern about ride-share safety, Uber’s announcement this week to use a personal identification system (PIN) is viewed by some as a step forward that also underscores the need for a national Sami’s Law.
Title 3 of Sami’s Law (H.R. 4686) mandates new protections through the use of technology, such as a four-digit personal authentication; or a scannable quick response (QR) code on the passenger windows; or other cutting edge successor technologies to verify a car before entering a rideshare vehicle.
“We are hopeful that the new verification feature rolled out by Uber this week will prove to be a step in the right direction to protect rideshare customers and drivers,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), author of Sami’s Law, comprehensive legislation that honors University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson who was brutally murdered by a fake Uber driver.
“Their process appears similar to that which is mandated in the proposed Sami’s Law. Thus, I am are cautiously optimistic that this new feature meets the standards proposed and as such, we urge Uber to enthusiastically support Sami’s Law so that this and other protections are industry-wide.
“Enacting the simple federal standards in Sami’s Law will protect riders—especially women from sexual assault—and help ensure that all customers are equally protected no matter which vendor they use, regardless in which state they travel,” said Smith, who testified at a bipartisan hearing on ride share safety and Sami’s law held in October to which Uber and Lyft declined invitations.
Uber recently released a report on its rideshare program that revealed nearly 6,000 incidents of sexual assault, 464 reports of rape and 19 deaths due to physical assault in the last two years.
“With no rules, no guidelines and an appalling lack of transparency—we simply don’t know whose car we are entering, a predator working for the rideshare company or a predator pretending to be, as was the case with Sami,” said Smith.
Sami’s father, Seymour Josephson, commented on Uber’s announcement, and on the continuing need for federal legislation.
“I think it is great that Uber has taken the lead in using technology and creating a safer ride experience for the public. While Uber has taken this initiative in using technology it is still important for us to continue the push for legislation. There are many more rideshare companies out there in the United States and North America and we must continue the push in creating a safer ride share environment for every company that participates in the industry. We must continue with additional safety measures like front license plates in order to protect all passengers,” said Mr. Josephson, who has fought to enact rideshare safety legislation at the state and federal levels.
“I could only wish that it did not take Samantha's death and our constant push to create these safety measures. We ask, why wasn't this done prior? Why did it take her kidnapping and murder for this to happen!”