Uber will soon run criminal background and driver history checks every year for all of its drivers.
Uber emailed riders about three new safety programs, including the company’s commitment to ramped up driver screening, the Trusted Contacts ride-detail sharing, and 911 access from the Uber app.
According to Uber’s statement, “Everyone driving with Uber in the U.S. must first pass a criminal and driving history check. Starting this year, we’ll proactively rerun those checks annually.”
In 2016, Uber agreed to pay $10 million to settle a 2014 lawsuit involving driver background checks in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The district attorneys opposing Uber in the case claimed the company’s procedure missed criminal records for 25 Uber applicants in the two cities because the background checks only covered the seven preceding years, and the screening ignored a database of around 30,000 registered sex offenders, according to Digital Trends.
The Trusted Contacts feature lets riders set reminders to share trip details with up to five friends and family members, who will be able to track the rider’s location in real-time on a map and know when the rider has arrived at his or her destination.
The new 911 feature makes an emergency call with a single tap in Uber’s app. The feature displays the rider’s current location and trip details so they can tell the 911 operator. Uber is working with RapidSOS’ pilot programs in six U.S. cities where the app will automatically share the rider’s name and the car’s make, model, color, license plate number and exact location.