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By Stephanie Gosk, Conor Ferguson, and Scott Stump
The assassination of a student in South Carolina will introduce Uber with new features designed to keep drivers safe.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Uber's Chief Legal Officer, Tony West, said the company's app will prompt drivers to identify the vehicle's license plate, brand, and model, as well as the name and number Check driver's image to confirm that it is the right person to pick them up. West said the Uber app will also feature prominent new security alerts.
The changes come just over two weeks after the murder of University of South Carolina's student Samantha Josephson (21), who was last caught on a car on March 29, thinking she was crossing her.
Her body was later found in a forested area 65 miles away. The driver of the car, Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, is facing kidnapping and murder.
"We are deeply concerned about what happened," West said in an interview broadcast Thursday, "NBC News." "For us, it's a reminder that we have to do everything we can to raise the bar for safety."
The South Carolina House of Representatives passed the Samantha Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act on April 9, after riders of carpools How Uber and Lyft had to display signs The bill is now ready for approval by the South Carolina Senate.
It's not the first time that fake Uber drivers have become a problem: In Los Angeles, three women have filed a lawsuit against the company claiming they are sexually assaulted by men who act as Uber drivers outside of bars and nightclubs, leading to questions about whether the company has done enough to warn drivers of men posing as Uber drivers.
Uber's Response to Samantha Josephson Death was the creation of a new alarm system to be launched on Thursday in South Carolina and then on the rest of the user base in the coming days.
"If you've ordered your Uber in the app, when it's on its way, you'll get more persistent, more frequent notifications and push notifications on your phone that remind you to check your drive," said West.  About Chief Legal Officer Tony West NBC News  When you open the app for the first time, you'll see a banner reading "Check your ride every time." After you've ordered a ride, you'll receive one a second alert that will allow you to check the driver's license plate, vehicle details and photo, and a third notification will be displayed before the driver arrives – this is a push alert – reminding the driver to check that It is the right ride.
The company states that it will also work with universities nationwide, on campus and on campus, as well as a travel voucher program with the S subsidized trips may be offered at certain times when other ways home are limited or unavailable.
Kelly Nantel, vice president of communications and advocacy at the National Safety Council, said she supports the new measures.
"The more information you can give the customer, the better," said Nantel. "With driving proportions, I think it's very important that drivers not only trust in the safety of the vehicle, but also in their safety, and I think these are steps that are moving this industry in the right direction."
West confirmed that people sometimes use the app drunk. He said the company had taken this into account while devising the new features.
But even with all new alerts, according to West, it's crucial for drivers to ask drivers a specific question before they get in their car. "It's second nature when we get into a car to strap on," he said. "Before getting in a car, it must be self-evident that you are asked," Hey, who are you here to pick him up?
In the interview, West was forced to make Uber take steps to make his vehicles stronger, highlighting how New York City taxis are only in certain colors and medallions. "There have been many ideas in recent weeks," said West. "The technology itself is a great tool to make sure you get into the right Uber vehicle."
Uber introduces the new security features while preparing for the IPO, West admitted on an IPO, and said Uber launches the new alarm system for reasons beyond the bottom line.
"Is security a business bid? Yes. But is it the right one? "Yes?" West said. "And it's important that companies increasingly find that they are taking the business imperative of doing things right."
Uber provides a list of safety tips for anyone using the service, including the following:
– Request Enter and wait as long as you can before heading out to board your ride.
– Check the license plate, the make and model of the vehicle and the image of the driver displayed in the app.
– Ask the driver to confirm your name before picking up the car by asking, "Who do you want to pick up?"
– Sit in the back seat so you can easily leave a side and have space between you and the driver.
– Share your travel status with a friend or family member.
– Trust your instincts, and if you feel you are in danger, call the 911 emergency button located in the app to share location and travel details with the dispatcher.