A new Uber 911 button will let users contact a 911 dispatcher.
The Uber 911 emergency button will let riders contact a 911 dispatcher — and disclose your location — without having to dial any numbers.
The ridesharing company has partnered with RapidSOS, a location-sharing service that connects Uber riders and drivers with 911 and first responders automatically when there’s an emergency. With RapidSOS, location information is automatically shared with 911 officials once users press the safety icon in the app. According to Uber, approximately 80 percent of 911 calls come from cell phones, so the integration with RapidSOS seems like a step in the right direction to improve the safety of Uber riders.
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According to Uber, when the user contacts 911 using the Uber app, the driver isn’t notified.
"At the end of the day, when a user is in an emergency, we want them to use whatever will be the fastest mechanism for them in that moment in time," Uber director of product management told Tech Crunch.
The Uber 911 emergency button is part of the apps Safety Toolkit located in the app.
Uber app 911 button test cities
The Uber 911 button is currently being tested in seven cities according to Uber. Riders in Denver, Colorado, Charleston, South Carolina, Nashville, Chattanooga and Tri-Cities, Tennessee, Naples, Florida and Louisville, Kentucky, have access to the new Uber feature now, according to Uber.
When will the Uber 911 button be available for everyone?
Uber says the feature will be available to all riders in the U.S. this summer. The company also plans to launch the new safety feature internationally. In addition, Uber has plans to introduce this 911 safety feature for its drivers in the future.
This feature was first announced in April after a CNN investigation found that more than 100 Uber drivers allegedly sexually harassed, raped or kidnapped passengers. Uber is adding this feature as a way to ensure the safety of its riders.
Will the Uber 911 button work?
Most riders usually have the Uber app open during the trip so they can make sure the driver is staying on the route, so the addition of 911 assistance in the Uber app could improve rider safety. When the feature becomes available to drivers, they will be able to share location data with the police if they need to report an incident.