TRENTON, N.J. – A college student from New Jersey was murdered after she got into a car driven by a predator, not the Uber driver she expected. This week, police charged a suspect with picking up a young woman who called for Uber at a bar in Manhattan, drugging and assaulting her in a motel near the airport in Newark. These are two of a growing list of similar incidents.
Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney increases safeguards with his legislation helping riders confirm the identity of their ride-share drivers.
“The popularity of Uber and Lyft continues to skyrocket,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “Riders, attracted by the convenience, have come to rely on the services to get to work or school, or for a ride home after a night on the town. Unfortunately, this gives predators posing as drivers an opportunity to search out victims. Making it easy for people to determine it is the right driver and the right car can prevent riders from putting themselves at risk.”
Rooney’s bill (A5418) requires riders be notified with the name of the driver, a photo of the car, and the make, model and color of the vehicle. The measure also requires illuminated markers, issued by ride-share companies to drivers, visible on the front and rear of the car.
“It’s safety first,” said Rooney. “Before they jump into a car, people need to assess the situation. This bill simplifies the process so riders can easily determine if it’s the right car and the right driver. Getting in the wrong car could be a fatal mistake.”
The legislation also requires ride-share companies to provide the state Motor Vehicle Commission with information about their drivers and their vehicles. MVC will maintain a database, updated every three months, with the identifying information.