On Friday, March 30, University of South Carolina senior Samantha Josephson was murdered after mistakenly entering vehicle that she believed to be her Uber ride. Upon leaving a bar at 2 a.m., Josephson got into the car of 24-year-old Nathaniel Rowland, now charged with both kidnapping and murder. Josephson, a New Jersey native, was set to attend Drexel University’s Kline School of Law this fall.
This senseless act of violence has been on headlines across the country, likely because of how many ride share users have been in situations similar to that of Josephson.
Ride sharing apps has largely been a source of good through reducing the incidence of drunk driving, however, tragedies like this remind us of important safety precautions. These measures are even more important for college students, whose frequent use and association with drinking can pose a danger.
Uber recommends several safety tips for ride share users
- Request your ride while inside to avoid waiting outdoors with your phone in hand
- When your driver arrives, check the app to make sure that the license plate, driver photo and driver name match the car and driver before entering
- While en route, the Uber app allows you to “share status” and the Lyft app has a “send ETA” feature so that information about your ride and driver are can be shared with a family member or friend
- Monitor the GPS in-app to ensure that the driver is on the correct route
- Do not share your phone number with the driver. The ride share app allows you to anonymously communicate with your driver
- Provide feedback after your trip in order so that action can be taken in the case of inappropriate action
While it is important to ensure safety on a personal level, government can also take action to protect ride share users. In the days since this tragedy took place, South Carolina legislators have already introduced a bill related to ride share safety in Josephson’s name. The new law would require Uber and Lift drivers to display illuminated signs within vehicles.
VALLEY encourages you to take up these simple safety measures when using ride sharing apps in order to ensure the upmost safety.