You can now call 911 from the Uber app, and this could be a huge step for passenger safety

Safety concerns about rideshare apps are on the rise, especially after CNN reported 120 complaints of sexual assault filed against Uber and Lyft drivers. Amid these concerns, both companies have taken steps to improve their users’ safety, and most recently, Uber introduced a new feature that will allow customers to dial 911 in-app.

Starting today, May 29th, the feature will roll out to users across the United States. With this update, if you already have the Uber app open, you can tap the safety icon at the bottom of your screen and select “911 Assistance” to call emergency dispatchers. The app will show you the make, model, and license plate number of the car you’re in so that you can share that information with dispatchers.

According to USA Today, in six test cities, users’ information will automatically be shared with police when they use the new feature. Those cities are Denver, Colorado; Charleston, South Carolina; Chattanooga and Tri-Cities, Tennessee; Naples, Florida; and Louisville, Kentucky. Users in Nashville, Tennessee will also get this capability within the next few days.

"Users have told us, 'Something to give me peace of mind is a way to access emergency features,'" Sachin Kansal, Uber's head of safety products, told CNET. "We are making this very accessible right from the home screen."

This new 911 dialing feature come on the heels of several other changes to enhance rider safety. Uber first announced today’s update in April, also promising to vet its drivers more thoroughly. And after the charges against Uber drivers came to light, the app repealed a policy that required victims to settle sexual assault cases outside of court.

Adding an in-app emergency call feature is an important step in making sure that all passengers arrive at their destinations safely, and we’re glad the company is finally taking this step.

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