South Carolina lawmakers took quick action against rideshare companies following the death of college student Samantha Josephson. Josephson was killed when she entered into the wrong vehicle one night, assuming that the driver was her Uber driver.
The driver of the vehicle locked the doors and put on safety locks meant for children to keep Josephson in the back of the vehicle.
She never made it home, and her body was later found.
Lawmakers in the state filed and passed a bill quickly that requires all Uber and Lyft drivers to display their license plate information at the front of the vehicle when the vehicle approaches. Drivers can use a marker and paper to make their sign, but Uber is choosing to print stickers that drivers will be required to display for passengers.
The stickers will alert passengers to the appropriate vehicle that is supposed to be picking them up. Uber and Lyft both send vehicle identification information to passengers, but with some states not requiring front license plates, passengers often get into vehicles that match a description without checking the license plate number.
Senate and House officials went back and forth on the idea of requiring all rideshare drivers to have an illuminated sign in the front of their vehicles. The clause, which was in the original bill, was eventually removed. Uber and Lyft both contest that the illuminated signage may have led to other incidents where predators would purchase or use similar signs to target victims.
Drivers in South Carolina will be required to have their license plate information displayed at the front of the vehicle by June 16, 2019 when the law goes into effect.
The bill passed through the South Carolina Senate in a 40-0 vote.
Uber has also taken their own steps to stop a reoccurrence of what happened to Josephson. The company has chosen to roll out a safety campaign that alerts passengers on the best way to verify their rides and also check the vehicle’s make and model number.
Steps have been given to all potential passengers that must take safety into their own hands.
Boston is passing laws for drivers, too, requiring all rideshare drivers to be fingerprinted under a new bill. The measure initially failed in 2016, but new safety concerns for rideshare passengers are enough to help the bill pass. Lawmakers argue that fingerprints are the only way to verify that a person is actually who they say they are.