COLUMBIA, S.C. — Safety. It's been on the minds of students, families and entire communities after a ridesharing service mistake resulted in the death of a young woman. Now one of those services — Uber — is speaking out about the actions they are taking.
Samantha Josephson was killed after getting into a car she mistakenly took to be her Uber ride. That car ultimately belonged to a man who police say kidnapped and killed they 21-year-old University of South Carolina student.
Uber said the issue of fake drivers has been part of their education effort since 2017. And it's one they hope to continue after this "unspeakable" tragedy, according to this statement:
"Since 2017, we’ve been working with local law enforcement and college campuses across the country to educate the public about how to avoid fake rideshare drivers. Everyone at Uber is devastated to hear about this unspeakable crime, and our hearts are with Samantha Josephson’s family and loved ones. We remain focused on raising public awareness about this incredibly important issue."
This idea of safety has now extended to South Carolina's officials, who just introduced a bill forcing all ridesharing cars to have illuminated signs while on duty. The bill, which is sponsored by State Reps. Seth Rose and Micah Caskey, is called the "Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act."
While state officials are taking steps to make these cars more distinguishable, University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides is pushing for students to be more vigilant as well.
In a letter to students, Pastides re-enforced to importance of double-checking every detail before getting in. That means checking the car, license plate, driver, as well as asking the driver "What's my name?"
Even with every safety tip in your back pocket, don't neglect the importance of traveling in groups — something Seymour Josephson said may have saved his daughter's life.
During a vigil for his daughter, Seymour said she had "absolutely no chance" traveling by herself that night. He urged everyone present to be vigilant at all time, and to always be safe — an idea that has spurred new mission in his life.
"That is going to be my mission in life now: educating, getting that [message] out, and hopefully putting pressure on Uber and Lyft," Seymour said.