Uber now offers assistance from a live safety agent via call or text in the US

Uber has announced some upgrades to its Safety Toolkit. New features include an ability to receive live help from an ADT security agent via phone call or SMS in the US. The agent can monitor a ride, staying in touch with the user throughout its duration and, if necessary, contacting 911 on their behalf. The agent can provide the authorities with the make and model of the vehicle, the license plate and its GPS location.

Similarly, Uber is expanding its text-to-911 capability to more parts of the United States. The app can automatically fill in a text with details about the vehicle and the trip, including the destination and current location.

Uber rolled out the feature in Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Indiana in 2019. It will now be available in almost 60 percent of the country, including New York City and throughout California, since 911 call centers in those areas can receive text messages. Uber plans to expand the option to additional regions where the technology is supported.

In addition, Uber has revamped the Safety Toolkit menu. There are large icons showing all available urgent help options, e.g. B. an emergency call button. “Our goal is to improve access to and visibility of our key security features because every second counts in an emergency,” the company said. Uber introduced the Safety Toolkit in 2018. Other security features include the option to verify a ride with a PIN code and share the status of a ride with friends and family.

Giving passengers and drivers more options for assistance is a welcome move, especially given that Uber doesn’t exactly have an impeccable safety record. The company’s most recent safety report, released in June and covering 2019 and 2020, finds that 99.9 percent of trips ended with no reported safety incident. However, 20 deaths were reported “out of a total of 19 Uber-related physical assaults.”

There were also 3,824 reports of sexual assault, compared with nearly 6,000 in 2017 and 2018. The company says passengers were the accused party in 43 percent of sexual assault cases in 2019 and 2020. In July, more than 500 women sued Uber, claiming they were assaulted by drivers.

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https://www.engadget.com/uber-live-safety-agent-text-to-911-safety-toolkit-130047909.html?src=rss Uber now offers assistance from a live safety agent via call or text in the US

Russell Falcon

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