The ways parents of slain college student hope to make ridesharing safer
The parents of a college undergrad from Mercer County, who police say was killed in South Carolina after mistaking a stranger's car as her hired ride, spoke out about ride share safety on ABC News "Good Morning America" Monday.
Marci Josephson said when booking rides through services like Uber and Lyft, new precautions have to become as automatic as fastening a seatbelt. She mentioned asking a driver what his or her booked passenger's name is before entering a vehicle -- the strategy suggested by the popular "What's my name" campaign that gained attention after 21-year-old Samantha Josephson died last month.
Seymour Josephson said in states that don't require front license plates, like South Carolina, an exception could be made for vehicles used by ride-share drivers.
He also voiced support for requiring ride-share drivers to have QR codes -- special barcodes that can be scanned with phones -- on their rear passenger windows. An app could light up greep if the vehicle is the one booked through the app, and could light up red if it was the wrong ride. A missing code would even more clearly suggest the wrong ride.
The grieving parents also both talked about trust in the face of such popular ride-share practices.
"We grow up teaching our kids not to get into cars with strangers, and what do we do? We get in cars with strangers," Seymour Josephson said.
He also said a law being considered in South Carolina, to require illuminated signs for Uber and Lyft vehicles on-duty, was a "great start." Uber has lobbied against that measure, saying such signs are available cheaply online and could given riders a false sense of security.
"We trust people, and you can't," Marci Josephson said. You have to change the way that the laws are to make it safer. Because that's our nature. We automatically assume we're safe."
The Josephsons, both from Robbinsville, plan to attend this Spring's graduation ceremony at University of South Carolina to accept their late daughter's diploma on her behalf. Marci Josephson said it will be the hardest thing they've had to do.
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