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Rideshare apps roll out new safety features after deadly encounter

UBER unveils "Check Your Ride"
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Lyft At Its San Francisco Headquarters Showcasing Lyft Cars, The Glowstache, The Lyft App, Lyft Passengers And Drivers
Posted at 10:14 PM, Apr 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-20 02:09:07-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Rideshare apps Uber and Lyft are rolling out new safety messaging and features to increase awareness for riders and drivers after a high-profile murder of a South Carolina college student.

Uber began rolling out new safety push alerts to some Las Vegas customers Friday and expect to make it standard to every customer's phone soon.

The messages include reminders to verify the driver's name and license plate number before getting inside the vehicle.

It comes just weeks after Samantha Josephson got into a vehicle that she mistook as an Uber she had requested on March 29.

Josephson's body was found in a wooded area in South Carolina, near where the alleged killer, Nathaniel Rowland lived, police said.

The deadly encounter comes after 13 Investigates profiled Elizabeth Suarez' brave escape after she got into a vehicle she mistook as her rideshare at Park MGM in July 2018.

"Safety is a big issue, and for our passengers, my biggest advice would be to check the license plate, that is a 100 percent way to make sure it's full proof," said Virginia Bustelos, a Las Vegas Rideshare driver.

Bustelos said on Friday she picked up a young woman at a Summerlin apartment complex who made a similar error to Josephson and Suarez.

"The next thing I know she jumped in my car and she goes "I'm so embarrassed! I got into the wrong vehicle, I can't believe I did that!" Bustelos recounted.

LIke Uber and Lyft, Bustelos stresses situational awareness and to always verify information from the app with the vehicle and driver.

South Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill to honor Josephson but also increase the safety of rideshare users by requiring drivers to have lighted signage while actively giving rides.

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