In April, Uber announced that it would be adding a direct way for riders to call 911 within its app in an effort to boost its flagging safety reputation. Today, the company is making that new feature live and fully operational across the US.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is on a mission to repair Uber’s tarnished reputation. Adding new features to make riders feel safer about stepping into a stranger’s vehicle also has the potential to corral bad behavior before it even materializes.
To dial 911, riders will need to swipe up on the safety center icon, and then tap “911 assistance.” They will then be asked to confirm they mean to dial 911 before the call is put through to emergency dispatchers. This is meant to minimize accidental dials, explained Sachin Kansal, Uber’s director of product management. The panic button was previously tested out by Uber in India.As part of the rollout of the new emergency button, Uber is also announcing a 911 integration pilot in a few markets that allows a rider’s location and trip details to be automatically sent to the 911 dispatcher when used in-app. This is meant to account for the low rates of location accuracy by 911 dispatchers in the US.