WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A University of South Carolina college student was killed after she got into a stranger’s car that she thought was her Uber. The death of 21-year-old Samantha Josephsen raising questions about safety for those who use a ride-sharing service.
“As a parent, it makes you cringe because we are a university town and we have an active downtown night life,” Wilmington Police Department Lieutenant Kelvin Hargrove.
“I’ve been in times where you see a car that looks like your Uber and you’re like it must be my Uber so you just go and get in it,” UNCW student Kyle Glover said. “That’s one of those things where everything can change for you in just a snap of a finger.”
Ride sharing services are intended to be a useful and safe alternative for people who may need a ride, but what can you do to make sure you’re free from danger?
Hargrove recommends when calling for a ride that riders check that the license plate, driver photo, driver name and vehicle description all match what is listed on the app before getting into the vehicle.
Glover says he uses Uber often in Wilmington.
“I have never felt uncomfortable in an Uber, a Lyft or anything like that and majority of the times I make sure that I have someone with me,” Glover said.
Hargrove agrees this is a good practice for all riders.
“Downtown is where we have a lot of ride sharing groups, but make sure that if you’re in a group and you use one of those ride sharing services you don’t leave anyone alone,” Hargrove adds.
Uber is also stepping up its safety metrics. The service has recently added an emergency assistance feature that allows riders to call 911 directly from the app and share the location and trip details with authorities. The app also lets riders share their trip with up to five family members and friends as trusted contacts allowing them to see you on the map and track your arrival.