On Thursday, April 12, 2018, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced that Uber would be implementing new passenger safety features in the following months. The announcement comes after Wigdor LLP filed a widely-publicized class action lawsuit against Uber alleging that thousands of female passengers have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault and/or rape at the hands of their Uber drivers as a result of the company’s overly-lenient driver background checks.
Among the proposed changes are an in-app “Safety Center” which displays safety information to riders during a trip, a “Trusted Contacts” feature which allows riders to share trip details with up to five designated contacts, a 911 emergency assistance button, and annual reruns of driver background checks.
The safety update, however, makes no mention of the use of fingerprinting during driver background checks. “Despite this announcement, Uber still is not allowing law enforcement to review a driver’s full criminal history before pairing them with passengers,” said Wigdor LLP Partner Jeanne Christensen, who represents the victims in the sexual assault class action against Uber, in an interview with Bloomberg BNA.
Plaintiffs in the class action are seeking injunctive relief, including requiring Uber to implement fingerprint scanning during the driver screening process.