Uber to release new 911 feature in Los Angeles County, Minnesota, and Indiana
LOS ANGELES, CA — Uber passengers who find themselves stuck in a dangerous situation can now text to 9-1-1 thanks to a new feature on Uber’s app. The ride-hailing service debuted the feature Thursday in Los Angeles County, Minnesota, and Indiana.
The company has been under pressure to improve safety measures after a series of high-profile attacks. Uber added an emergency 911 call button in the app last year. The update will expand the feature to include texting for help.
Now, with the press of a button, an auto text message will be generated that lets authorities know the caller is in a moving Uber car while allowing dispatchers to track the vehicle. It can even be used to help passengers who accidentally got into a vehicle driven by an imposter driver.
“In an emergency, every second count,” Sachin Kansal, Uber’s head of safety products, said in a statement. “This new addition to the app will allow Uber users to reach out to 911 in situations where they may not be able to make a phone call.”
According to Uber, when a user pushes the text-to-911 button, the app will automatically formulate the start of the text message, stating that the user is in an Uber vehicle and providing a current location, destination, and description of the vehicle. The user can then add a description of the emergency.