- South Carolina lawmakers have introduced a bill that would require ride-sharing vehicles to have illuminated signs on their windshields to display the company's logo. The bill is dubbed the "Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act" in honor of University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson, who was recently murdered after mistaking a stranger’s vehicle for her Uber.
- In addition to being illuminated, the signs must be on at all times when the driver is active, readable during daylight hours at a distance of 50 feet. The bill also requires drivers to return all signage to the respective company after termination of employment.
- Rep. Seth Rose, who spearheaded the bill with six other state representatives, told The State he was "just sick" about the murder, and announced on Twitter that he would name the bill after Josephson.
Uber and Lyft have long emphasized safety a priority, both for passengers and drivers. Over the past year, Uber has added an emergency button to its app to give riders and drivers a way to directly contact 911, taken steps to protect personal information and created a “Ride Check” feature that detects an unexpected stop. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said he wants the company to be "the safest transportation platform on the planet," while Lyft has touted measures like background checks for drivers and a critical response line as part of its safety regime.
Still, Uber has been particularly hit with several bad headlines over passenger safety. The company was sued over its treatment of an Indian woman who was raped by a driver, and its license was temporarily revoked by the city of London over safety concerns. Though Uber is not at fault for the incident in South Carolina, it is a reminder that ride-sharing still carries significant risks.
If passed, Rose’s bill would add another layer of security and ensure Uber and Lyft vehicles are more identifiable. Both companies already make illuminated displays available, which can change color based on a customer’s request, but they are more expensive than normal or reflective stickers and have limited use by both companies.