Uber steps up safety features after prior incidents

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) - It's Friday night and the odds are if you're heading out for a night on the town, you're using a ride-sharing App like Uber.

The company says that helping keep people safe is a huge responsibility and one they do not take lightly.

After a number of incidents in the past, Uber's new CEO says he's now committed to putting safety at the core of everything his company does.

"One of the things our customers both drivers and riders have been asking for, is to be able to contact emergency whenever they need it, in a very easy way," said Sachin Kansal, Uber's head of product safety. 

The Uber app now has an emergency button. Just tap it to call 911, and you can get access to help whenever you may need it.

"We are also announcing a location sharing pilot for 911, we are working with a partner RapidSOS, so if you call 911 from the Uber app, we will actually pass your exact GPS location to 911 call centers," said Kansal.

Uber says that keeping customers safe is something they take seriously. 

"We think that applying technology to solve safety problems is the right thing to do for Uber, and then we talk to our users," said Kansal. 

Officials with the popular ride-sharing App, say that they have been listening to their users, who have expressed their desire to be able to get in contact with emergency officials, as quick as possible.

"We encourage our users to use the path of least resistance. If it's easier for them to just go to their phone app and dial 9-1-1, that is exactly what they should do. However, if they are in the Uber app, we also wanted to make it easier for them to do it, so it's really their choice. They should do whatever is the quickest, and whatever gives them the piece of mind," said Kansal.

Uber is also expanding its safety advisory board.

Executives say that these changes will build on the safety benefits that ride-sharing already brings, like helping people avoid drunk driving.

For more information on Uber's Safety Features, visit this link. 

(Video courtesy for the story: Uber)

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