Uber has announced a major update to its app, and it is one change that will be applauded by many users. The update is an emergency button that will allow a rider to contact first responders in the event of crisis during a trip.
The emergency button, according to Uber, will be located in a new “safety center” that can be accessible with ease in the app’s home screen. Locating it in the “safety center” will give riders easy access to the button since it will be in the app’s home screen.
The safety center, according to The Verge, will include “information about the driving screening center, insurance protections, and community guidelines.” Riders will also have the opportunity to assign five of their friends and share their location during each ride.
Lately, Uber has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, and this new safety button is the company’s own way of getting things right. Safety has been a major issue in Uber, and relationship between riders and drivers has not been that smooth. A safety button that allows you to call 911 during emergency situations.
“We were not perfect,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in an interview on Today, per The Verge. “Anytime you’re growing as fast as we were growing… but that’s not an excuse, and sometimes you get things wrong. But our intent now is to get things right.”
Uber is also investing $350,000 to improve communications between all 911 centers in the US. That aside, the company will also pilot 911 integration with local authorities, and Denver has been chosen as the starting place.
“We’re teaming up with RapidSOS to pilot 911 integration with local emergency authorities, starting in Denver. If a rider uses Uber’s emergency button in one of our pilot cities, their location and trip details will be automatically sent to the 911 dispatcher. We’ll be monitoring this pilot closely and evaluating further expansion,” Khosrowshahi wrote in a blog post on Thursday.
Uber recently came up with a new policy that mandates drivers in the UK to take a minimum of six-hour break after working non-stop for 10 hours. Drivers, however, will be able to log into the app and accept rides while observing their break.
“While drivers only spend an average of 30 hours a week logged into our app, we want to do our part to ensure they don’t drive tired,” Uber’s UK head of policy Andrew Byrne said, per Reuters. “That’s why we’ve been sending drivers regular reminders to take rest breaks and why we’re now bringing in these new limits,” he added.
Uber’s new rest breaks policy might not be unconnected with some of the issues facing it in the UK; London in particular. If allowing drivers to take time off to rest after 10 hours of being on the road will help them be in the right frame of mind, then so be it.