RIDE-SHARING APP Uber has revealed new measures it is taking to curb drunken passengers disturbing their drivers.
Distracted drivers cause thousands of road deaths worldwide every year and the taxi app company feel the children’s toy Bop It could be the remedy to their problem.
An Uber experiment in Charlotte, North Carolina has seen drivers introduce the noisy toy into the backseat of their taxis for late night journeys to entertain passengers and discourage them from distracting the driver.
First released in the mid-1990s, Bop It is designed to be engrossing for children and the mix of nostalgia and loud noises appears to be registering well with Uber passengers.
Passenger and driver safety
A major pitfall Uber has suffered from in recent years has been driver and passenger safety. Incidents such as drivers assaulting passengers, and vice versa, have marred the company’s rise since 2009.
Uber’s chief security officer Joe Sullivan said ensuring the safety of all parties is a top priority and distracting passengers is an approach that is producing results.
An intoxicated rider who is engaged in something interesting is less likely to be irritable and aiming aggression at the driver.
Improving safety is a two way street, however, with Uber also experimenting with new methods of investigating passenger complaints about dangerous driving they experience.
A statement on the company’s website reveals a new pilot programme that will use technology in smartphones to detect if drivers are speeding and even if the car brakes suddenly.
“Gyrometers in phones can measure small movements, while GPS and accelerometers show how often a vehicle starts and stops, as well as its overall speed,” the statement reads.
If a rider complains that a driver accelerated too fast and broke too hard, we can review that trip using data. If the feedback is accurate, then we can get in touch with the driver.