Uber on Wednesday announced new safety features for drivers. The new features are aimed at helping drivers drive safely on roads; especially taking a break when they have driven for too long.
Starting from tomorrow [Thursday], drivers in 11 cities including, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago will be shown a summary of how smooth their driving was for every trip they undertake. WSJ reports that separate scores for acceleration, braking and a map pinpointing physical location of every incident will all be included in the score. Drivers who exceed speed limits will be alerted by Uber within its app in real time. More cities will be included in coming weeks, Uber stated in the announcement on Wednesday.
Uber came up with the idea of these set of features when drivers claimed they drive up to 17 hours at a time, which does not conform to normal safety standard. Now that a reminder feature has been included, the 12-hour limit for driver shifts will be well complemented. As a matter of fact, Uber started monitoring driver behaviors back in November in limited test in Houston.
“Today we are releasing new data showing Uber’s impact on these issues over the last few years—and announcing new features in the driver app to help reduce these risks going forward.”
To help drivers monitor how fast their car is going, Uber also added a speed display within the app, and this will be measured with the GPS on the phone. In addition, the phone’s gyroscope will measure if a driver is holding or using his phone and remind him of the advantage of a dash-mounted display.
Drivers will also be provided with info about their driving patterns, and how they compare with their colleagues in the same city. This will also include suggestions on how to make driving smoother and safer.
Uber said the major reason why this data is being collected is to help drivers become better at what they do as well as provide feedback the company considers more detailed than ratings from customers. However, Uber’s new features could raise some privacy concerns for some drivers as well.
Uber’s has timed the release of these new features ahead of the weekend of July 4; considered a “big night” for the company. July 4 is America’s Independence Day—a day where lots of people get drunk in the US; drivers not excluded. Two years ago, 41% of all traffic deaths were caused by drunk driving, according to Uber, and this occurred during the weekend of July 4.
Though, a lot of privacy concerns may arise as a result of these features, it is important to also note that the benefits outweighs whatever concerns drivers outside Uber may have. For example, the features could help drivers prevent or avoid being penalized for complaints frivolous complaints from customers.
How this improves safety during driving and helps drivers to adhere to certain rules remain to be seen. What Uber is saying with these new features is that customer ratings won’t be the only way to measure the performance of its drivers.
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