Recent incidents raise safety concerns about Uber
By MarKeith Cromartie
Williams Cummings is a frequent user of Uber, the skyrocketing low-fare form of transportation, and he wouldn’t give a second thought to using any other taxi.
“I personally think Uber is doing a great job,” Cummings said. “For every one bad experience there is a 100 good experiences. You can’t let a few bad people ruin something good.” However, Uber has been under fire recently for a shooting involving one of its drivers. The incident took place in Kalamazoo Mich., where 45-year-old Uber driver Jason Dalton shot and killed six people and left several more wounded.
The incident resonated memories of the attempted kidnapping of a Florida State student by 35- year-old Antonio Warren, who posed as an Uber driver.
Since the incident in Michigan, there is public concern whether Uber should beef up its security measures and background checks. Traditional taxi drivers are required to undergo screening that requires drug, alcohol and fingerprint testing. Taxi companies also use information from law enforcement database before hiring drivers.
The screening for Uber drivers isn’t as intense, although it requires drug and alcohol testing. Uber also checks other public records on its drivers. Despite criticism from government officials and competing cab drivers, Uber defended its policies by insisting its background checks are adequate.
As is the case in using any taxi service, customers would like to know that their safety is a top priority. That is especially the case in Tallahassee, known as a college town with two major universities.
Considering the incidents involving its drivers, Uber should do more to ensure the safety of people who use its service, said Bria Jefferson, a freshman at FAMU.
“As a result of the recent criminal activities taking place from Uber drivers,” she said, “I feel as though the corporation should make it their mission and priority to ensure the safety of its customers.”
While Uber has built a reliable base of customers who stand firmly with the company, former law enforcement officer and current Uber driver, Raymond Santos, agrees that customers’ concerns should come first.
“If they want to increase the background checks and security that should be fine especially if the customers want it,” he said, “but I don’t think it should be mandated.”