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New Safety Feature Coming to U.S. Ubers

Published on Dec 21, 2021 at 12:23 pm in News.

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Have you ridden in an Uber before where you wish the audio had been recorded? Maybe the driver said something inappropriate to you, and it made you feel uncomfortable. After the ride, when you wanted to go report the interaction, you were left wishing you had an audio recording to prove what happened so that it wasn’t your word against theirs.

Or maybe you’re an Uber driver and after a ride, you get a notification that your passenger filed a report about your ride, claiming you verbally harassed them during their ride, but this claim wasn’t true. When you dispute the report, you’re left wishing the ride had an audio recording to prove nothing happened.

Well, the audio recording safety feature is coming to the United States soon to squash these kinds of issues and improve safety for both riders and drivers alike.

What Is Uber’s Audio Recording Feature?

Uber has a feature called Audio Recording that’s located within its blue shield on the app. Within the blue shield, you’ll open the Safety Toolkit where you can choose to record the audio of your ride. You can make this choice at any point during the ride if you start to feel uncomfortable or can do it for every ride if you want to take precautions.

Drivers can also choose to record the audio of their rides. Just like passengers, they can choose to turn this feature on for individual rides, or they can leave the feature on for the duration of the time when they are online and driving.

Neither party is notified when the other chooses to record. For example, if a passenger decides to start recording the trip, the driver will not be notified. When a driver has their settings to record while their online, though, the rider will be notified when they choose their trip that their ride could potentially be recorded. This adds a layer of safety so neither party feels unsafe for choosing to record a ride.

This specific safety feature was launched in Latin America 2 years ago, and is intended to promote safe interactions for both the passenger and the driver while on the trip. This way, both parties can feel comfortable, and know that there is an audio record in case anything dangerous or unsettling is said during the trip.

The feature is already available in 14 countries, including Mexico and Brazil, and now they’re bringing it here. Uber will be piloting this feature in three major U.S. cities in late December, and then potentially implementing it everywhere in the United States if it performs just as well as it did in Latin America.

How Audio Recording Improves Safety on Rides

While some people may feel uncomfortable about the recordings and fear that it’s Uber’s way—or the driver or passenger’s way—of listening in on them, that’s not true. The intention is for everyone’s safety on their rides. Also, none of the parties above can use the file just to listen in. In fact, drivers and passengers can’t access the audio file to listen—even if they were the one who recorded it.

The audio file is encrypted. This means that it cannot be accessed by anyone unless it is attached to a report. Even then, the driver and passenger will be unable to listen to the recording.

When a driver or passenger files a report to Uber after a ride, the audio file is attached as evidence to be reviewed. Only then can Uber access the audio file. Even if the driver or passenger files a report and doesn’t submit the audio file Uber can’t access it—it must be attached to the report in order for even Uber to access the file.

After the report with the audio file is submitted, the Safety Team reviews the claim and uses the audio of the ride to support that report. They’ll listen and review what happened and make a decision on how to proceed from there. This is much like their process before, but the audio file gives an extra level of evidence for them to review so they can get a better understanding of what happened on the ride.

It is important to mention that Uber could potentially provide the recording to the police or other legal teams, depending on the situation and how it progresses.

According to riders and drivers in Rio de Janeiro who were testing this feature and surveyed, almost 70 percent of Uber users felt safer because of this feature. While most Uber trips go on as normal, and are pleasant experiences, when there is an uncomfortable or dangerous trip, this feature adds comfort to the driver and passenger that they have firm evidence.

Rideshare Law Group Will Support You

Taking an Uber is common practice, and you expect the ride to go smoothly. Most do, and you get to your destination safely after a silent or pleasant interaction with your driver. However, on some rides, there is an uncomfortable or dangerous interaction that you choose to report. After you report this on the app’s safety features, especially if their choices led to an accident, you might choose to take legal action.

At Rideshare Law Group, we’re here to take your claim. Our Uber accident lawyers have experience representing the victims of collisions and other issues during rideshare trips that could have happened to you as well. We’re here to support you through your claim and ensure you get justice.

Reach out to our office today so we can get started on your potential claim and discuss how we can help.