Jersey City Mayor Fulop Wants To Improve Safety Of Rideshare Vehicles – WCBS 880

Jersey City Mayor Fulop Wants To Improve Safety Of Rideshare Vehicles - WCBS 880
Washington state man accused of posing as Uber driver, raping Seattle woman
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Ride-share vehicles in Jersey City will soon have new safety requirements to meet or face hefty fines.

The change comes following the murder of a New Jersey native at the University of South Carolina who got into a car she mistakenly thought was her Uber ride.

Josephson, a New Jersey resident, mistakenly got into the vehicle of 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland’s car in Columbia, S.C.,, thinking he was her Uber driver, authorities have said. Rowland allegedly activated the vehicle's child safety locks so she couldn’t escape, they added.

Boyfriend of slain South Carolina student says he was tracking her whereabouts by phone during abduction

The mayor of Jersey City has announced that he’s not going to wait around for the state to take action following the tragedy.

The boyfriend of 21-year-old Samantha Josephson, the University of South Carolina student who was killed last week after mistakenly getting into a car she thought was her Uber ride, said he was tracking her whereabouts on his phone during her abduction, a local station reported.

“The state tends to act very slow on things, so Jersey City has plenty of rides coming in and out so we’ll start,” Mayor Steven Fulop explained.

“There’s lots of regulations around the yellow taxi cabs and taxi cabs in general. There should be something around ride-shares.”

Uber offers its own list of rider safety tips, including waiting indoors until the driver has arrived, sitting in the back seat when traveling alone, and sharing trip details with friends or family through the app so they can track the trip and view an ETA. The company has announced multiple new safety features in the past year, including an emergency 911 button, 911 integration and a dedicated place for safety information. Uber also said it would re-run criminal and motor-vehicle checks on an annual basis, and monitor new criminal offense data. Lyft, for its part, offers a 24/7 critical response line.

Every transportation network company will also be responsible for giving all the info for each driver operating out of the city to Jersey City authorities.

“We only say the name and we go inside, so it’s something very dangerous I think it’s a good idea,” one ride-share passenger told CBS2’s Alice Gainer.

Josephsons death was the latest worse-case rideshare scenario to make headlines — even just recently. An Uber driver arrested for allegedly raping a female passenger appeared for his arraignment in a Boston court Monday. A Brooklyn woman told PIX11 News this week her Uber driver had physically assaulted her and hurled a homophobic slur after she asked him to take a different route home. An ex-Lyft driver in Georgia convicted of raping an intoxicated female passenger in 2016 received a 35-year prison sentence last month.

An Uber spokesperson argued that requiring these lights could actually increase the risk of imposter drivers using fake signs and worried if people start just looking for a light it will make them less likely to check the app with the driver and car info.

“Usually they give you an identification. You know if you go on Uber it tells you the name of the person, what they look like, a picture of them, a description of the car,” Ed Kaminsky of Linden said.

“So I mean we come across the ride-shares all the time at the Path stations, the light rails, pick-ups, drops-offs, and once you start enforcing it with tickets and fines then people start to take action,” Jersey City’s mayor explained.

Jersey City Proposes First-in-Nation Ride-Share Safety Measure After College Students Deadly Mistake

A Washington state man accused of posing as a ride-sharing driver and raping a woman he picked up outside a Seattle bar in December was arrested this week.

The sheriff’s office says a man in a black vehicle led her to believe he was her driver before pulling the car over and raping her. Abbott said a relative saw a photo on television news and told the suspect that he was being investigated for rape. The man reportedly said he was going to go to the sheriff’s office to clear his name.

The woman told police that on Dec. 16 her friend called an Uber for her and the suspect “led her to believe that he was her Uber driver,” according to a statement of probable cause. While driving her home, the man pulled over and raped the woman, the King County Sheriffs Office said.

In the South Carolina case, authorities say Samantha Josephson was killed after getting into a car thinking it was her Uber ride. A 24-year-old man charged in that case is accused of using the childproof locks in his car to imprison her.

He then drove the woman home. Authorities were not able to identify the man until this week after releasing photos on social media from a surveillance video that showed him outside the womans house the day of the assault.

Safety advocates advised that ride-sharing services will send a description of a vehicle, its license tag number and a photo of the driver. They recommended passengers check the information before getting inside a vehicle.

The suspect, 34, of Tukwila, Washington, saw the images and went to a police station to “clear his name,” a spokesman for the sheriffs office said. After giving detectives at the police station his information, the suspect, who was accompanied by his wife, was allowed to leave. They then went to the womans home to confront her, police said.

"South Carolina's taken the pro-active steps to start to regulate some of these Uber and Lyft ride share services to make sure the cars are clearly marked. New York City mentioned they may be moving forward that way as well. It kind of makes sense, we're going to do it in Jersey City," Fulop told New Jersey 101.5.

“Deputies were dispatched and he was detained,” police said. “He first lied to detectives and made up a fake story about where he was. After his wife confronted him about it, he then said that he picked up the victim, pulled over and had sex with her, and then drove her home. He said he thought she was consenting, but he admitted that she was intoxicated.”

"South Carolina's taken the pro-active steps to start to regulate some of these Uber and Lyft ride share services to make sure the cars are clearly marked. New York City mentioned they may be moving forward that way as well. It kind of makes sense, we're going to do it in Jersey City," Fulop told New Jersey 101.5.

Deputies said because the woman was inebriated she was “unable to effectively communicate that she was not consenting to sex.”

\”South Carolinas taken the pro-active steps to start to regulate some of these Uber and Lyft ride share services to make sure the cars are clearly marked. New York City mentioned they may be moving forward that way as well. It kind of makes sense, were going to do it in Jersey City,\” Fulop told New Jersey 101.5.

The suspect was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon and booked into the King County Jail for investigation of rape. Hes expected to be charged on Monday, a police spokesman said.

Last month, a South Carolina college student was killed after getting into a car she mistakenly thought was her Uber. Samantha Josephson, 21, a student at the University of South Carolina, was reported missing on March 29 after she failed to return home from a night out with friends.

Her body was found hours later in a wooded area about 65 miles from Columbia in Clarendon County. A suspect, Nathaniel Rowland, is in custody facing charges of kidnapping and murder.

Safety advocates advised that ride-sharing services will send a description of a vehicle, its license tag number and a photo of the driver. They recommended passengers check the information before getting inside

Following Josephsons death, the University of South Carolina launched a campaign called “Whats My Name” urging people to ask ride-sharing drivers to say their name before getting into the car.

Uber has listed a range of tips on how riders can stay safe which include customers checking that the license plate number and photo of the driver matches whats being shown on the app.


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