Uber launches new emergency feature in Utah

Digital Exclusives

SALT LAKE CITY – (ABC4 News) One of the most convenient ways to get to and from home, work, school or even a night out is a rideshare. While the convenience is nice, there’s also a slight chance you could run into a scary situation.

To enhance the safety for both riders and drivers, Uber has launched a new text 9-1-1 feature in the following Utah counties:

  • Beaver
  • Cache
  • Carbon
  • Daggett
  • Davis
  • Duchesne
  • Garfield
  • Iron
  • Juab
  • Kane
  • Morgan
  • Piute
  • Salt Lake
  • Sevier
  • Tooele
  • Uintah
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Weber

This comes as an alternative way for users to get help should they need emergency assistance. A text can be sent to 9-1-1 right the Uber app, in addition to calling.

Tanya, an Uber driver, who’s only been driving for a few weeks and told ABC4.com, “So far everything has been fine, I haven’t been in any threatening situations most riders are pretty decent and really kind I’ve had awkward situations but never anywhere I feel like my life was in danger.”

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Once dispatchers receive the 9-1-1 text for help, it instantly notifies them what kind of vehicle a user is in, license plate number, can pinpoint a users location and their final destination. The SMS text will then prompt the user to say what their emergency is.

Officers are able to then track the user’s digital footprint in real-time, and instantly are able to execute the rescue.

Calling 9-1-1 is still preferred by first responders, but Uber knows in some cases texting may be the safer option.

We reached out to Uber to ask is there was an immediate need to launch this feature in Utah, they told us:

“Our goal is to have this feature available in every city that supports text to 9-1-1.”

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According to the Federal Communications Commission, text to 9-1-1 is only available in certain locations.

If text 9-1-1 is not available, the user will get a response clarifying that text is not available in that specific area.

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