Uber app updates with new safety features like ‘trusted contacts,’ 911 button
Uber keeps updating its app and adding features this week. Its latest announcement Thursday is all about safety.
Now within the ride-hailing app riders can pick up to five people to list as “Trusted Contacts.” For every ride those selected friends and family can be notified about your trip — or you can set it to send your travel information only for night rides.
A new 911 button on the app will connect you to police in case of emergency. Once clicked the button will show your real-time location to emergency operators. A driver version of the emergency button is coming soon.
Another addition to the app: A new “Safety Center” will be a place on the app to see everything about Uber policies and safety information.
Outside the app, Uber is changing its background check process for its drivers. Criminal and driving background checks were formerly reviewed when a driver started, but those checks weren’t run again (except for certain jurisdictions). Now Uber will conduct checks every year — and everywhere, no matter what.
As part of increased background checks, Uber is setting up a system that flags any new criminal offenses through data sources.
A Lyft spokesperson confirmed that the competitor ride-hailing app has been running annual background check-ups for several years.
And finally, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson — he served during Obama’s second term — will chair Uber’s Safety Advisory Board.