BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Your car is dead, and you need to get to work. What do you do? Many people would choose to depend on a ride-share app, like Uber.
Pew Research says just about 36% of U.S. adults have used a ride-share app. Ridesharing, which is defined as a service that arranges one-way transportation on short notice, is popular for good reason. It comes in handy when your car is on the fritz, or you simply don’t feel comfortable driving.
But how safe is it to hop in a car with a stranger? Or, for that matter, to be the driver who chauffeurs a stranger?
Uber addresses safety concerns
Uber appears to be transparent in reporting safety concerns. For example, last summer the company released a safety report that said it received 3,824 sexual assault reports from U.S. rides from 2019-20.
In an effort to increase safety for both drivers and riders, Uber says it’s expanding an in-app safety feature that will allow drivers and riders in Baton Rouge to record audio during trips.
The company made the announcement Thursday, stating, “Since December 2021, we’ve been piloting this feature in select cities across the US. Baton Rouge is one of several new cities that this feature is expanding to.”
How to use the new safety feature
Any drivers and riders interested in using the new recording tool can set it up in their Uber app’s Safety Toolkit.
After the feature has been enabled, it will allow riders and drivers to record audio during a trip by pressing the blue shield icon on the map screen and hitting “Start” on the “Record Audio” option.
Users can start or stop an audio recording at any point during a trip, but the recording is designed to automatically stop shortly after the trip comes to an end.
What happens to the audio file?
Uber says, “Once an audio recording is completed, the audio file is encrypted and stored directly on the rider or driver’s device. To help protect privacy, no one will be able to listen to the recording, including Uber, unless a driver or rider submits a safety report to Uber and attaches the encrypted audio file. At that time, the file will be decrypted and a trained safety agent will be able to review the submitted audio.”
When will Baton Rouge get access?
Uber says some riders and drivers in Baton Rouge will have access to the safety app in their Safety Toolkit during the week of March 13, and in the coming days, the feature will eventually become available to all capital area riders and drivers.
If you’re one of Uber’s active users, the company says it will send you an email with information about the new feature.
Click here for additional suggestions on how to travel safely when using ride-share services.
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