Just this last week Uber the worldwide taxi service which boasts of it's convenient, inexpensive, taxi service released some startling news that certainly got my attention. Before the reality of 2018, that boast always had SAFETY tucked in nicely before convenient and inexpensive. The reality is that in 2018 the company copped to at least 3,000 sexual assaults of passengers in just the United States alone.
It all sounds so good -- hire a PRIVATE DRIVER to pick you up and whisk you to your destination with a tap of a button on any smartphone device. For drivers, Uber provides exceptional pay, allows you to be your own boss and even receive tips. It's not my attention to scare the hell out of folks who sail through the Uber experience without any sort of problems. However, the problems are escalating in proportion to the popularity of Uber's apparent popularity and convenience.
Last April I began to see more and more horror stories in the news involving the new rideshare giants, Uber and Lyft. Sexual assaults, robberies, and various other incidents are being reported to the police. Facts are facts and Uber by fessing up to over 3,000 sexual assaults should trigger alarms by customers. Sometimes a little knowledge could save a life or keep you from becoming a victim. To coincide with Uber's admission of over 3,000 sexual assaults and their failure to do comprehensive BACKGROUND CHECKS ON DRIVERS, I decided to repeat some of the dangers and tips that may be helpful for the safety of unsuspecting passengers.
Where there is an opportunity for predators to strike, caution is of the utmost importance. In Chicago alone last year, a man posed as an Uber driver and sexually assaulted 5 women in 5 separate incidents, by climbing into the back seat and pinning them down. The same scenario has played out 100s of times across the country. One incident in South Carolina led to homicide. A college student believed she was entering the vehicle of her Uber driver. It was the vehicle of her killer.
These types of attacks can turn from a simple mix up into a raging nightmare. It exposes how easily a predator can exploit the vulnerabilities of a ride-sharing culture that so many people TRUST to get them to their destination safely and without incident. The drivers' troll nightclubs, bars, airports, and entertainment venues to locate people scanning the dark looking for their rides. They wave to passengers saying, " I'm your driver." Granted these types of attacks represent a small fraction of the millions of uneventful rides Americans hail every day. Uber's numbers for 2018 should sound an alarm. The problem is escalating and most assuredly will not go away. More and more people worldwide are forced to weigh the risks of climbing into a stranger's backseat.
Uber has been keenly aware of the problems within its company. They have installed more safeguards such as a panic button on the APP that goes directly to 911 and it allows recording the audio while en route to your destination. However, keep in mind that if your driver is an imposter these are worthless tools. I'm enclosing some very useful tips that you can absorb and pass on to friends and others who use this type of service. One of the most important things to remember and all cops are keenly aware of this, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS AND USE COMMON SENSE. Please remember there are knockoff decals and light up signs that say UBER OR LYFT THAT ARE EASY TO BUY FROM ONLINE RETAILERS. The following are some really good tips that will at least help when using this type of service.
1-- ALWAYS CHECK THE LICENSE PLATE AND MAKE AND MODEL OF THE VEHICLE
2-- ALWAYS CHECK THE DRIVERS PICTURE.
3--OPEN THE BACK DOOR AND ASK THE DRIVER WHO THEY ARE THERE TO PICK UP. FAR TO MANY SAY "ARE YOU HERE TO PICK UP SO AND SO"----NEVER GIVE YOUR NAME, MAKE THE DRIVER TELL YOU.
4--MAKE SURE THE DRIVER DOES NOT HAVE CHILD LOCKS ON. YES! IT'S OKAY TO ASK. YOU NEED TO VERIFY THAT YOU CAN GET OUT IN AN EMERGENCY.
5--LASTLY, ALWAYS SHARE YOUR RIDE INFORMATION WITH A FRIEND OR LOVED ONE. COLLEGE KIDS SHOULD SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH THEIR ROOMMATES AS WELL. NEVER EVER WHEN DRINKING AT A BAR OR RESTAURANT LEAVE YOUR DRINK WHILE USING THE FACILITIES OR EVEN DANCING. KEEP AN EYE ON IT ALL TIMES. HAVE A FRIEND WATCH OVER IT IF POSSIBLE.
Remember to trust your instincts. Use the DUCK theory. If it looks like a duck, if it sounds like a duck, if it walks like a duck, IT STILL MAY NOT BE A DUCK. PLEASE SHARE. I HOPE THIS WAS HELPFUL.
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