In a time when using services like Uber or Lyft is incredibly popular for college students and working people alike, it’s imperative that measures be put in place to ensure the safety of passengers and hold companies accountable for drivers misusing the system.
South Carolina passed the Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act in 2019 to promote rideshare activities. The act has several components, including requiring cars used for these services to display a clear and visible license plate and criminalizing people who pose as rideshare drivers. This act amended previous South Carolina laws dealing with public transportation but modernizes them to include new technology and services available.
It’s imperative that all states prioritize the safety of passengers using rideshare services and approve similar acts that can lessen some issues and hopefully eliminate them altogether.
An important part of South Carolina’s Ridesharing Act is the requirement of visible license plates. This is absolutely essential because a license plate can often times be the primary component assuring the passenger that they are entering the correct vehicle.
Future acts and amendments should require clear license plate visibility for both front and back license plates. There should also be a requirement that passengers approve checking the license plate of their car before entering the vehicle on their chosen app.
Another necessary component to South Carolina’s Ridesharing Act is the incrimination of people posing as rideshare drivers. Picking up people who believe they are being taken to their requested destination to a different location is kidnapping and should be legally treated as such. Checking license plates and asking the driver for the name of who they are picking up are important preventative measures, but it’s still important to have measures in place holding people accountable who misuse rideshare services through incrimination.
In addition to preventative measures being approved by state governments, companies like Uber and Lyft should add additional features to better ensure safety of passengers using their services. As mentioned before, a feature that is necessary would require a passenger to approve on the app that the vehicle they are entering has the same license plate as the one listed on the screen, in an effort to make the process more intentional on the passenger’s part. It would also be helpful for women to be able to request a female driver, although it is important to be safe and aware no matter who the driver is. Rideshare drivers should also not be allowed to offer passengers any type of personal food or drink while they are in the vehicle, unless the passenger requests driving through a restaurant.
Although passengers need to be aware and cautious when using rideshare services by taking preventative measures, it’s still absolutely imperative for states to pass acts modeled after South Carolina’s that can improve the safety of these services for all involved.