Uber Reportedly Revamping Security, Won’t Say Exactly What It’s Doing

uberFollowing several accusations of Uber drivers behaving horrendously and a lawsuit regarding the company’s vetting processes for potential vehicle operators, the ride-sharing company is reportedly trying to make it up to future customers by revamping their focus on safety – although the company failed to provide many specifics.

The Associated Press reports that Uber announced it would work to build new safety programs and intensify others in the coming year.

In a blog post titled “Our Commitment to Safety,” Uber officials say the company is in the process of a global review to assess the areas where greater safety investment is required.

While recently hired head of global security for the company, Phillip Cardenas, didn’t go into great detail about the upcoming changes in the post, he did provide a few snippets of information.

Among upcoming initiatives, Uber will create teams that can rapidly respond to safety-related reports and new ways to screen would-be drivers, the AP reports.

As far as potential screening options for the future, the company says that the varying infrastructure and complexity of background checks outside the U.S. is of great concern.

“We are finding solutions in many places that range from polygraph exams that fill gaps in available data to adding our own processes on top of existing screening for commercial licenses – which is what we are undertaking in India,” the blog post states. “We are exploring new ways to screen drivers globally, using scientific analysis and technology to find solutions.”

In addition to exploring other screening measures, Cardenas says it will work with “partners that have deep expertise in issues like women’s safety, conflict resolution, and road safety and incorporate their counsel into our global safety roadmap.”

Cardenas says Uber is also in the process of building Safety Incident Response teams around the world with the goal of providing 24/7, immediate support in the event of a safety incident.

Uber’s announcement of upcoming safety-related changes comes just a week after the district attorneys for San Francisco and Los Angeles filed a lawsuit against the company for a number of issues including allegedly misleading consumers on its background checks for drivers.

The company has also recently been party to complaints about driver’s often awful behavior.

Earlier today it was reported by the Boston Globe that an Uber driver in Massachusetts was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped and kidnapped a female passenger.

A Uber spokesperson told the Globe that the incident was a “despicable crime” and that the company will work with police to help with the investigation.

Last week, a London woman complained to that company about a driver who was ““very forward and quite creepy” and, more specifically, “Asked me if I wanted him to go down on me.”

Uber’s response to that situation was to apologize for the incident, say it was investigating the issue and offer a $31 refund.

In other events, Uber drivers have been accused of pulling a passenger from the car and smashing her phone, kidnapping passengers and groping passengers.

The AP reports that other serious incidents outside the U.S. have involved drivers allegedly sexually assaulting customers in India.

Amid Scrutiny, Uber Vows Bigger Focus on Safety [The Associated Press]