Tragically, a female student from the University of South Carolina was killed after she accidentally got into a vehicle, believing it was her Uber ride. The woman, who was a 21-year-old from New Jersey, climbed into a black four-door Chevy Impala after a night out with friends. She believed that the vehicle was her Uber ride. Later, turkey hunters found her body in a wooded area with multiple sharp force injuries. A 24-year-old man was charged with her alleged kidnapping and murder.
The woman’s death has already prompted some South Carolina lawmakers to take action to protect rideshare riders. Two state representatives introduced a bill requiring rideshare drivers to display illuminated, company-provided signs. The president of the University of South Carolina has asked members to pledge that going forward they would ensure that their rideshare vehicle and driver details match with the app’s information. Others are asking that Uber and Lyft introduce new safety measures.
An Uber spokeswoman says that the company has been working with law enforcement officials since 2017 to help educate the public about how to avoid fake rideshare drivers. The company also plans to launch a campaign aimed at the public about checking their driver’s details.
This tragic death is not the only criminal action taken involving fake rideshare drivers. In March, an Alabama man was charged with kidnapping after he was found with an unconscious college student in the back of his car. He had posed as an Uber driver. Many other Uber and Lyft drivers have been charged with sexual assaults and other crimes against riders. Experts say that many passengers make the mistake of treating the pickup process very casually and getting into the wrong car by accident.
Although Uber and Lyft can be safe alternatives to driving while intoxicated, they can be dangerous, particularly since many of their riders are intoxicated and may have their guards down. In addition, Uber and Lyft have a reputation for doing minimal background checks on their drivers.
If you have been harmed by a driver for Uber or Lyft, you should speak with an attorney. If you’re in Los Angeles, call me, Conal Doyle, Los Angeles personal injury attorney. I can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.