Uber South Africa – which controls 71% of the e-hailing market in South Africa – is considering introducing emergency buttons in cars.
This as Uber drivers face continued intimidation from especially taxi-meter drivers which includes killings, vehicle torchings and acid attacks since the service was introduced in South Africa in 2014.
Uber Africa spokesperson Samantha Fuller said no deadline has been set for the introduction of the panic button, which will be separate from its existing emergency app.
Earlier this year, Uber launched an app which connects drivers to the closest private security response vehicles through built-in GPS, whereafter police can be dispatched if necessary.
“[The new emergency button] could assist in a case where a driver-partner needs assistance and has lost access to their cell phone and cannot use the Uber app,” Fuller told Business Insider South Africa.
Last month, Uber introduced a “safety toolkit” with new features for clients, including the ability to share their accurate locations with friends or family, and to check a driver’s credibility.
Uber also introduced a new policy earlier this year which forces drivers to go offline for six straight hours after a total of 12 hours driving time, in an effort to prevent drowsiness.Uber introduced partner injury protection in August which means all drivers and Uber Eats delivery-partners are covered by insurance in an accident or crime-related incident at no additional cost to them.