Uber is adding several new safety features to its app, including an audio reminder to riders to wear their seat belts, allowing riders or drivers to record audio during rides, and detection of unexpected route changes or stops before the final destination. The updates are designed to help both riders and drivers feel safer during trips, Uber said.
“Many people admit to not always buckling up in the back seat, especially on shorter trips, and that can create an uncomfortable situation for drivers,” Kristin Smith, road safety public policy manager at Uber, told TechCrunch. “We think introducing an audio reminder can help reinforce the message that people need to buckle up in every seat, every time. This feature builds on a number of seat belt awareness campaigns we’ve launched over the past several years. We’ve partnered with GHSA on our ‘Make It Click’ Campaign and have worked to educate riders and drivers on the importance of wearing a seat belt.”
The seat belt feature will begin to roll out to some users later this month and expand nationally early next year, according to an Uber spokesperson, who also said the impetus for the audio alert came from feedback from drivers who bear the brunt of responsibility for paying off tickets. At the start of the trip, the driver’s phone will have an audio alert reminding riders to buckle up, while a push notification is sent to the rider’s phone.
The audio recording feature, which has been live in Latin America for around two years, will begin rolling out in the U.S. next week as a pilot in Kansas City, Louisville and Raleigh-Durham. Drivers and riders can choose to record audio by tapping the shield icon on the map screen and selecting “Record Audio.” If a driver has opted into the feature, riders will get a notification within the app before the trip begins.
Do you have a complaint about Uber or Uber Eats, such as overcharges or fraud? Take your claim to FairShake, the consumer advocacy service.