Uber Launches its Panic Button for Riders in the United States

In April, Uber officially announced that it would be launching a dedicated means to contact 911 emergency services if a rider felt the need.

Today, Uber is launching that feature in the United States. Riders will find it within a new “safety center” menu within the app, which can be found directly from the home screen. That same safety center will also tell riders more about the driving screening process in general, and there is a community guidelines page, too.

It’s not necessarily as simple as a one-tap experience, though. To actually call 911 through the panic button, Uber riders will need to swipe up on the safety center icon and then tap “911 assistance”. Before the call is actually placed, however, the rider will have to confirm they want to make it. That should help reduce accidental dials, at least.

It’s worth noting that Uber is implementing the panic button just for riders at this point. However, Uber has stated in the past that a similar feature will be created for drivers at some later date.

“We realize that a lot of situations and a lot of criminal activity arises when people think they’re not being watched,” Kansal said in an interview with The Verge. “And we just want to say that we’re turning the lights on. Part of turning the lights on is providing these features to both sides and also make sure we’re making the entire community aware of the presence of these features.”

The new panic button is available now within the Uber app.

Our Take

Uber is looking to fix its flagging safety reputation, and this may be one step to reach that goal. It’s just one of many, though. Adding the feature for drivers is another must-have, which Uber will aim to fill here soon.

[via The Verge]