Due to high-profile sexual assault accusations against Uber drivers the Chicago operators of Uber have implemented a safety checklist into the app.
Uber drivers have been in Chicago and Boston have been charged with raping a female customer since December; so far the “safe ride checklist” is only available in these two cities.
“We are being responsive,” Chris Taylor, the general manager of Uber in Chicago, said Wednesday. “Given there have been some accusations… we want to make sure everyone knows how to use the platform in the safest way possible.”
A driver photo and license plate number will be displayed along with an accompanying message to ensure customers verify that the photo and license plate match their driver.
“Educating people and providing tips on safety is very responsible – doing nothing would be weak,” Taylor said when asked if the change to the app did enough.
The change to the app was first noticed by customers on the same day a Chicago driver was charged with sexually assaulting an intoxicated customer and was held on $500, 000 bail by a Cook County Judge.
On November 16th, a 22 year old woman ordered a driver using Uber X, a service that summons contract drivers that use their own cars. Maxime Fohounhedon, 30, shared an Uber account with his wife and showed up to pick the woman. Unfortunately, instead of taking the woman home Maxime drove her to his apartment when she fell asleep in the back of his car.
As soon as she woke up she found herself with Fohounden on top of her and both her pants and underwear down to her ankles.
Fohounhedon was removed as an Uber driver as soon as the company was alerted of what had transpired.
Taylor informed the public that they conduct various background checks that put prospective drivers through various databases. There is also an email account riders can email to leave their feedback, which is monitored 24 hours a day: [email protected].
When frequent Uber user Hoge was asked if the Safe Ride Checklist goes far enough to prevent sexual assaults against riders and ensure rider safety, she responded by stating there will always be an element of chance that is out of our control.
“It’s not going to deter someone from doing a certain act of that’s… why they [became] and Uber driver,” Hoge said.
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