In the company’s latest response to a high-profile rape accusation made in India last December, ride-hailing service Uber is rolling out an “SOS button” in parts of the country that connects passengers with local police when pressed.
When a passenger taps Uber’s new SOS button, they will be immediately connected via phone with local law enforcement. Additionally, their location data as well as passenger and driver information for the ride in question will be transmitted to the police:
For Uber, getting the SOS button’s data-sharing features to work requires the cooperation of local police. Uber beta-tested the feautre in Kolkata and is “in advanced discussions with authorities in multiple cities across India to deploy this solution in the coming weeks,” the company said in a blog post Thursday.
Uber’s new SOS button, which expands on a less powerful feature introduced last year, comes after a 25-year-old Indian woman filed a lawsuit against Uber in January claiming the company didn’t do enough to screen out a driver she accuses of raping her last year. Uber has since taken other steps to bolster its safety record in India, including rolling out stricter driver background checks.
However, complaints over the company’s safety record have not been limited to India. Several Uber passengers across the United States have claimed that Uber drivers kidnapped and, in some cases, assaulted them. Uber said in December it would take steps to improve its driver screening process in the U.S. after several lawmakers and regulators across the country began pressuring the company to ensure a safer experience. When reached for comment, an Uber spokesperson said “we have not announced any plans outside of India.”
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