Risky Rides

Ubers are easy and convenient to use, but can be extremely dangerous.



Uber announced it is exiting the self-driving truck technology business. (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)

Kennedy Wade, Reporter

The concept of Ubers, which bring easy transportation to cities lacking in public transport or taxis, is a convenient one. If one cannot drive or simply doesn’t feel like it, all that is needed is to call up an Uber to take you anywhere you want to go. However, the system isn’t as great as it sounds. The danger comes in the form of bad Uber drivers and strange clientele mixed with almost non-existent safety measures to prevent any incidents.

Anytime you’re getting into a car with a complete stranger, there’s a certain level of risk associated with it. According to their website, Uber offers some safety measures such as mirrors and cameras, ways to track your ride and gives you some information on your driver, but these steps aren’t enough to provide security. Stories of scary Uber drivers and rides went wrong litter the internet. In addition to that, 103 women have accused Uber drivers of sexual assault, according to CNN.

Uber claims that they give background checks for their drivers, but more often than not, they’re not good enough. Convicted sex offenders and violent people have managed to slip past the lax and non-invasive background checks. Uber promised to heighten their security, but continue to avoid fingerprinting, something that is 95 percent effective in identifying criminals, according to a study by The Guardian.

Uber also rarely responds to customer complaints against their drivers. One example of this was Jason Dalton, an Uber driver who murdered six people. The day of the murders, several complaints were placed against him and one person called 911 due to his erratic driving and behavior.

In addition to having bad security, Uber doesn’t offer training for their drivers to help them in case of an unruly rider. Instead, they believe that recording the passenger or having the passenger’s bad behavior reflected badly on them will deter any problems. This security does very little. In Lincolnwood, a passenger murdered their uber driver during the ride. This is in stark contrast to taxis, with a pane of plexiglass in between the driver and passenger, as opposed to the regular cars driven by Uber employees.

In contrast to the inherent danger of taking an Uber, consider instead calling a taxi. It might cost more, but the background checks of taxi drivers are significantly more thorough, and there are far more safety measures in place – like the divider between driver and rider. Another alternative would be public transport. Most public buses are equipped with security cameras to provide a safer experience, and as a bonus, they’re free.