UBER installs ‘panic button’ for riders to curb sex assault

A panic alarm is being added as a safety feature to every U.S. Uber rider’s app, which will call 911. It’s one of several safety features being added to the app.

Uber is adding additional features — including a panic button — to help stop sexual assault and harassment.

The ride-sharing company has been facing accusations of sex crimes from its users directed at its drivers for years.

A class-action lawsuit, filed in November 2017, alleges that thousands of women have “endured unlawful conduct by their Uber drivers including rape, sexual assault, physical violence and gender-motivated harassment.”

Since then the company has said it implemented stricter background checks for drivers.

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The company also added a feature (which was first announced in April) on the Uber app that will allow riders to notify 911, and it’s testing a feature that would send the user’s location to 911 operators.

“We’ve added a feature that allows riders to share live trip information with up to five trusted contacts, so there are multiple sets of eyes on each ride,” Tony West, Chief Legal Officer, wrote in a press release.

“And we’re rolling out a new emergency button in the app that can automatically communicate the car’s location to a 911 center.”