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Uber vows again to improve passenger safety

Uber is reminding its customers that it plans to make changes for safety.On Monday, the company sent an email ...

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 11:38 AM
Updated: Jun 5, 2018 11:38 AM

Uber is reminding its customers that it plans to make changes for safety.

On Monday, the company sent an email to its app users emphasizing its commitment to improving driver screening and passenger safety. The company also outlined a list of safety features it began rolling out earlier this year.

The features include the ability to share trip details with "trusted contacts," a button to call 911 from within the app, as well as a pledge to re-run background checks on drivers each year.

This comes after CNN reported the company had approved thousands of drivers with disqualifying criminal histories, according to state agencies and lawsuits.

Monday's email did not include other forms of driver screening called for by some state regulators and attorneys who are suing Uber, such as in-person interviews, additional government oversight, or fingerprint-based background checks performed on all potential drivers.

Related: Thousands of criminals were cleared to be Uber drivers. Here's how rideshare companies fought stronger checks

CNN reported that Uber led a massive lobbying effort, along with competitor Lyft, to push back on many government efforts to add other layers of scrutiny to the screening process. Out of 43 states that have passed laws on rideshare driver screening processes, all except Massachusetts give rideshare companies the sole responsibility of background checking their drivers. CNN found Uber played a role shaping the language of many of those laws.

Some state agencies in California, Colorado, Maryland and Massachusetts have done additional screening of varying degrees and found what add up to thousands of drivers with criminal records they deemed disqualifying, even though those drivers cleared rideshare companies' private checks.

Uber first announced a series of added safety measures in April, which followed questions from CNN for an earlier report that found more than 100 Uber drivers had been accused of sexual assault or abuse.

Those measures also included investment in new technology to identify offenses by drivers as they occur and an "emergency button" within the app that allows passengers to quickly share their location with police. The emergency button launched last week.

Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who joined the company in 2017, has said safety is his No. 1 priority for the company this year.

"When we fall short, we commit to being open, taking responsibility for the problem, and fixing it," he said in an ad released in May.

Uber also said in May it will no longer force into arbitration passengers who allege they have been sexually assaulted or harassed by drivers.

But Uber and rideshare companies Lyft, Juno, Curb, and Via faced additional questions -- after the initial CNN report -- from nine members of Congress who asked that they detail their protocols related to complaints about sexual assault or harassment and driver training on the topics.

Related: After CNN report, lawmakers want answers from Uber, Lyft on sexual assaults

In response, Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony West sent a letter on May 25 that listed the previously announced safety features and said if police or customers report sexual assaults by drivers, Uber immediately blocks those drivers' access to the app and investigates further.

West did not provide details for the lawmakers' question on whether Uber maintains records of drivers who have been accused of sexual assault, but he said the company has committed to publishing a "safety transparency report" that will include data on assault and other incidents that occur on its platform. He also did not say whether Uber shares information on drivers accused of sexual assault with other rideshare companies.

Denver police took an Uber driver into custody on Friday for investigation of first-degree murder after his passenger was shot and killed.

Colorado's Public Utilities Commission is seeking to fine Uber more than $4 million for allowing 45 drivers with disqualifying records, based on state law. Uber has challenged the fine, which remains pending before an administrative judge.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17741191
Hinds16891332
Harrison14279204
Rankin11239220
Jackson10917190
Lee9071145
Madison8599169
Jones6731118
Forrest6208124
Lauderdale6121192
Lowndes5544120
Lafayette520598
Lamar505865
Washington4933125
Bolivar4126109
Oktibbeha408382
Panola386981
Pontotoc377460
Monroe3686110
Warren3685103
Marshall357170
Union356864
Pearl River3495106
Neshoba3490154
Leflore3118109
Lincoln306788
Hancock294262
Sunflower291975
Tate280662
Alcorn273154
Pike270181
Itawamba269363
Scott260048
Yazoo256756
Prentiss253754
Coahoma249755
Copiah249749
Tippah249750
Simpson242872
Leake238167
Marion224273
Grenada223972
Covington221073
Adams215171
Wayne213734
Winston207671
George204739
Newton199946
Attala197064
Tishomingo194961
Chickasaw189344
Jasper181138
Holmes172068
Clay166837
Tallahatchie157235
Stone152525
Clarke148162
Calhoun141322
Smith130026
Yalobusha123335
Walthall114537
Greene113729
Noxubee113026
Montgomery112036
Carroll106822
Lawrence106817
Perry105131
Amite102126
Webster96824
Tunica89021
Claiborne88825
Jefferson Davis88430
Benton85823
Humphreys84724
Kemper80920
Quitman7139
Franklin70617
Choctaw63713
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45217
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 441170

Reported Deaths: 6660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson646811007
Mobile31620572
Madison28310217
Tuscaloosa21525275
Montgomery19954332
Shelby19335132
Baldwin17256189
Lee13205107
Morgan12639142
Etowah12107181
Calhoun11521206
Marshall10471123
Houston9009164
Limestone834981
Cullman8274124
Elmore8214110
DeKalb7894107
Lauderdale7871107
St. Clair7854130
Talladega6481112
Walker6036183
Jackson601545
Colbert549994
Blount547386
Autauga537662
Coffee462464
Dale410785
Franklin374950
Russell357515
Chilton345473
Covington339680
Escambia335444
Tallapoosa3149109
Dallas313296
Chambers304270
Clarke300236
Pike262531
Lawrence254155
Marion253761
Winston233642
Bibb222348
Geneva211547
Marengo209331
Pickens199631
Hale185244
Barbour182738
Fayette178629
Butler174460
Cherokee165731
Henry159925
Monroe152421
Randolph146436
Washington142327
Clay130546
Crenshaw124045
Macon122337
Cleburne121825
Lamar120222
Lowndes115536
Wilcox107922
Bullock103528
Perry100018
Conecuh97922
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63618
Choctaw51924
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