Some Uber drivers and riders have been in dangerous situations where they’ve been unable to call 911 for help. To alleviate this issue and bring peace of mind to rideshare workers and users, Uber launched a new feature allowing app users to text emergencies to 911. When a driver or rider texts 911, they can provide information about the ride, what the situation is, and their current location.
This service is available wherever “Text to 911” has been activated by area 911 officials. So far, this includes counties and cities in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington State.
This new feature was first piloted in Los Angeles, Indiana, and Minnesota. According to 911 dispatchers, the feature is saving lives. Todd Austin, Dispatcher Manager at the Los Angeles Police Department, spoke with ABC News about the technology: “We’ve had a number of instances where it saved lives where someone who was in a compromised position and it was too dangerous to talk. They were able to text us that information, we were able to dispatch help and lives were saved.
When a rider or passenger accesses the feature, it creates a text message saying they are taking a trip, along with the vehicle information and the intended destination. There’s also the line “My emergency is…,” where users can then add the specifics of what’s going on. If the vehicle keeps heading in a different direction than the planned destination, Uber automatically sends real-time location data to dispatchers who can respond through the app.
In addition to the text-to-911 feature, Uber plans to partner with ADT, a security company, in ten different markets to provide a silent alert option. When this feature rolls out, app users who cannot talk or text 911 will have the option of tapping “Alert 911 silently.” ADT will contact emergency services on the user’s behalf and share car and location information.
While this new feature has the potential to save lives and help rideshare victims, it may not deter negligent drivers from putting passengers in harm’s way. If you’ve been injured or harmed because of a rideshare driver’s actions, you should consider taking legal action to improve your chances of making a full recovery. To learn more, contact the Rideshare Law Group today.