Background checks on Uber and Lyft drivers is the industry standard in its effort to avoid dangerous situations, but what happens when a vehicle operator or rider needs to contact 911? A new feature on Uber’s app is bringing more peace of mind to first responders and rideshare passengers, ABC News reports. Uber has launched a feature in its app nationwide which will allow riders and drivers a new way to text 911 seamlessly with information about the ride, including its current location, even if the driver has strayed from the route. The technology was piloted in Los Angeles, Indiana and Minnesota. 911 dispatchers say the new feature is effective.
“We’ve had a number of instances where it saved lives where someone who was in a compromised position and it was too dangerous to talk,” said Todd Austin of the Los Angeles Police Department. “They were able to text us that information, we were able to dispatch help and lives were saved.” Uber says the feature is now available wherever “Text to 911” has been activated by area 911 officials, including dozens of counties and metro areas in 23 states. In addition to creating a text message to 911 operators, the app automatically sends them location information through a system called RapidSOS used in more than 60 cities. Lyft does not have a Text-to-911 feature in the app, but it does allow drivers and riders to connect with 911 from within the app via a phone call.