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Uber adds rear seat belt reminder, SOS integration with local police

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Uber rides will  now receive an audio reminder to wear rear seat belts, along with push notifications at the start of trip (Representative Image)

Uber rides will now receive an audio reminder to wear rear seat belts, along with push notifications at the start of trip (Representative Image)

Ride-hailing firm Uber has launched a rear seat belt reminder and SOS integration with local police among a string of safety features for customers in India, the Business Standard has reported.

An audio reminder to wear rear seat belts would be sent with push notifications at the start of a trip. There is also a provision for SOS integration with local police, including sharing of live location and other critical information and detection of trip anomalies, the report said.

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Sooraj Nair, head (safety operations), Uber India and South Asia, told the business daily the company was “committed to investing in technology and human intervention to improve drivers and riders experience on the platform” and would continue looking at solutions for the same.

The SOS integration feature is already live in Hyderabad and Uber was in “active talks” with other major metro cities to extend the reach, the report said.

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The RideCheck feature, first introduced in 2019 to detect unusually long stops during a ride, has been upgraded. RideCheck 3.0 also detects unexpected routes being taken and the trip ending unexpectedly before the rider’s final destination.

Uber’s Safety Toolkit has been upgraded to display new options and easy access at a click.

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Another support feature is Uber’s 24×7 Safety Line, where customers can dial 88006-88666 from their phone or via the Uber app to talk to live support agent, up to 30 minutes after a trip ends. The agents are situated at Uber’s Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam centres and the company claims 99 percent of the calls are addressed within the first 30 seconds.

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Manasi Chadha, director (customer experience), India & South Asia, said that the safety support staff are trained for an average of eight weeks before responding to concerns.

Nair added that over 130,000 of its drivers had also received gender sensitisation training.

Wearing seat belts has been compulsory for four-wheeler drivers and co-passengers in Mumbai since November 1. The traffic wing of the Mumbai police, had in a statement warned of action against violators.

As per section 194 (B) (1) of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, whoever drives a motor vehicle without wearing a safety belt or carries passengers not wearing seat belts shall be punished. The rule was more strictly enforced after the former chairman of Tata Sons Cyrus Mistry was killed in a road accident in Palghar. A probe into the crash revealed the businessman, who was on the rear seat of the Mercedes car, was not wearing a safety belt.

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