It’s now almost a year ago, since I was wondering around London late at night, using Google Maps to get back home when it led me down a dark alley way and I started to get the spooks. It sparked the flame that became Candle Path, which is your personal assistant for safety at night.
After eventually getting back home that night, I thought I should look more into safety issues. It turned out that it wasn’t just me..51% of people don’t feel safe at night and when I asked over 100 people, 90% of people believed they needed something like Candle Path that could guide you to the safest routes. I also asked people how many of them took a taxi because they felt scared and over 50% had.
And then that’s when I heard about Uber’s safety issues. So according to the survey I conducted people are taking Ubers because they are scared of walking around at night so safety is paramount.
In its early days: One of Uber’s contracted drivers was accused of raping a 20-year old female passenger in Washington DC in 2013, and when The New Yorker reported the company recruited drivers with a Craiglist ad and a 45 minute background check, it didn’t go down too well.
But the biggest calamity was when a 25 year old woman was raped by one of Uber India’s drivers who had allegedly been previously jailed for rape and had faced accusations of passenger assault. This was a ride too far..
When someone books an Uber ride, they are literally putting their lives in the hands of a stranger.
That’s why I was relieved to find out the safety precautions they’re implementing in India. Last week, they introduced a panic button in the app, which allows a passenger to call the local police number and a safety net feature which has the ability to send information about where a passenger is at to as many as 5 pre-selected emergency contacts.
Uber would be foolish to stop at that and they’ve announced plans to have a Police re-verification of all their drivers, additional background screening by a private agency and a dedicated Incident Response Team in each city to handle critical situations.
Even when the world has moved onto such technological heights as driverless cars and virtual reality headsets, one of the most important aspects in life, safety, has been neglected by the tech industry.