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Woman says Indy Uber driver wouldn't let her out of car

POSTED 3:34 PM, MARCH 16, 2016, BY JAMES GHERARDI

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 16, 2016) - An Indianapolis woman says she was using Uber to get to work Tuesday morning when she noticed the driver was taking her on a much longer trip than usual.

“From work to school to home, I use Uber for my daily transportation every day,” said 19-year-old Rahsha Brown.

When Brown got in her Uber Tuesday morning, she didn’t think anything of her quiet driver.

“He never even turned around to look at me,” she said.

But she thought something was up after 20 minutes into what is normally about a 10-minute drive.

“The route shows you where to go; he was just not taking the route-- like he was on his own route,” she said.

When she asked the driver where he was going, Brown said he told her to shut up and then hit the gas.

“I just freaked out. I wanted to get out the car immediately. I asked to get out the car probably 50 times and was not let out the car,” she said.

She called 911 from the back seat of the car and when the driver slowed down at a turn, “When I was given the opportunity and the car slowed down, I jumped out and ran over into work and got help,” she said.

A normal trip to work for Brown, according to the stored Uber ride history on her phone, is 4.6 miles and 12 minutes. Tuesday morning’s trip was 6.1 miles and lasted more than 20 minutes.

Police are investigating. Uber responded to the incident by saying that driver has been suspended. They also provided their policy requiring each driver undergo a driving history and criminal background check.

That wasn’t enough though for Brown. She was once a longtime Uber customer, but now promises to never use the popular app again.

“I just can’t. I don’t want to go through any traumatic experience like that or risk going through any traumatic experience like that again,” she said.

Police would not release any details on their investigation.

Uber driver kills 6 people, claims he was being mind controlled by the Uber app

By Brad Reed on Mar 15, 2016 at 9:00 PM

Yes, it’s time for another edition of the worst Uber drivers ever. Previous editions have included an Uber driver who crashed into a cop car and then got busted with pot in his glove compartment, and an Uber driver who left a pregnant woman stranded while nonetheless charging her $13. The latest Uber driver fiasco is no laughing matter, however: It involves a driver who allegedly shot and killed six people and claimed that his own phone’s Uber app was mind controlling him.

WWMT.com reports that former Uber driver Jason Dalton has been charged with going on a shooting spree that left six people dead. Police say during early interrogations, Dalton “blamed the Uber ride sharing app for taking over his mind and controlling him” while saying that “the app dictated how he responded to police that night.” Apparently, a horned devil head would appear on his phone’s screen when he opened the app and would give him “assignments” that he’d feel compelled to carry out.

“It has the ability to take you over,” Dalton said. “It feels like it is coming from the phone itself.”

He had apparently been acting erratically on the night of the shooting, as his wife told police that he gave her a gun and told her she wouldn’t be safe at home unless she held onto it.

Source: http://bgr.com/2016/03/15/worst-uber-drivers-ever-3/

Murfreesboro Police arrest Uber driver on rape charge

By WTVF/Nick Beres | 

Posted: Mon 9:26 PM, Mar 14, 2016

   

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) - The Murfreesboro Police Department arrested an Uber driver and charged him with raping a customer on Halloween night according to Nashville CBS affiliate WTVF.

WTVF reports that neighbors told detectives they found the 22-year-old woman bloody and barely conscious in her front yard.

Sgt. Kyle Evans with the Murfreesboro Police Dept. told reporter Nick Beres,"Due to level of intoxication, he drug her out of the vehicle and threw her out onto the front lawn of the residence."

Investigators told WTVF that Lyons, Jr. deactivated the GPS on his car and drove to a secluded area where he committed the crime before taking her home.

"She was covered in blood and at some point received injuries during the Uber ride. She left the party unharmed and she ended up at her home sexually assaulted," said Evans.

WTVF in Nashville reported that Emmett Lyons, Jr. has a criminal record. A spokesperson for Uber told the CBS affiliate that background checks on all drivers go back seven years. Lyon's previous arrests happened before 2009.

Source: http://www.local8now.com/content/news/Murfreesboro-Police-arrest-Uber-driver-on-rape-charge-372046002.html

Uber settles "industry-leading background check" class-action for $28.5M

Plaintiffs: Uber didn't require fingerprints from drivers, so it wasn't top-notch

by Cyrus Farivar - Feb 12, 2016 4:30am CST

Uber has agreed to pay $28.5 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit originally filed in late December 2014 by six men who argued that the startup’s claim of running "industry-leading background checks" was false and misleading. Passengers paid a "safe ride fee," usually $1 to $2 on top of each fare, as a way to offset those costs.

Under the terms of the deal, which was filed on Thursday, Uber will now rename this charge as a “booking fee” and will alter its language accordingly. The settlement also states that Uber and its subsidiary “expressly deny the allegations” and admit no wrongdoing.

Specifically, the consolidated complaint, which combined other similar lawsuits, alleged:

Despite its statements, Uber does not and has never provided an "industry-leading background check process." To the contrary, the background check process used by Uber does not use fingerprint identification and therefore cannot ensure that the information obtained from a background check actually pertains to the driver that submitted the information. By contrast, taxi regulators in the most populous parts of the United States require drivers to undergo criminal background checks using fingerprint identification, usually employing a technology called "Live Scan." Requiring fingerprints for background checks ensures that the person whose criminal history has been run is, in fact, the applicant – and is the industry leading background check process.

Presuming that the federal judge in San Francisco approves the deal, passengers who used Uber in the US between January 1, 2013, and January 31, 2016 are eligible to receive a portion of the settlement. If that pot is divided evenly amongst Uber's 25 million passengers, even after attorneys’ fees, each passenger will receive only around $1.

"We are glad to put these cases behind us and we will continue to invest in new technology and great customer services so that we can help improve safety in the cities we serve," Uber said in a statement on Thursday.

 

Imposter Uber driver picks up Portland woman

on October 28, 2015 at 4:54 PM,

A Portland woman who was picked up by an imposter Uber driver says her case should serve as a warning to other women who use the ride-hailing service.

Courtney Lage was leaving a friend's birthday party just after midnight on Oct. 11 at a bar near Southeast Grand Avenue. She requested a ride through the Uber app and watched on her phone as the app showed the car approach.

As it appeared to get close, Lage said, a man pulled up and said "Uber?" 

Lage got in, but she told The Oregonian/Oregon Live she started getting nervous when, as he started driving away, the driver asked for her address. Uber drivers typically use the app's GPS navigation function, and it's programmed with the rider's address. The driver said his was broken, she said.

The driver was also missing an Uber placard usually displayed on the car.

"That's when I realized something's wrong here," Lage said.

When her actual Uber driver called her cellphone asking where she was, Lage demanded to be let out of the car. The man pulled over to the side of the Morrison Bridge and let her out before speeding off, she said.

"He didn't touch me, and he didn't threaten me," she said. "But I think the only reason you pretend to be an Uber is to harm someone."

The real Uber driver stayed on the phone with Lage and picked her up on the bridge.

She called police after she got home, but wasn't able to give officers a license plate number or thorough description of the driver. 

A passing driver might have been able to guess Lage was waiting for an Uber because she was waiting and watching her cell phone, she said. Police officers who interviewed Lage also asked if someone might have overheard her telling friends she was going to take Uber home, she said.

It's not clear a crime occurred, said Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson, because Lage got in the car voluntarily and wasn't harmed or threatened. Still, he said, it's a reminder to be cautious.

Imposter Uber drivers have been reported elsewhere. In Tallahassee, Florida, police arrested a 35-year-old man who allegedly claimed to be an Uber driver before exposing himself to a college student and assaulting her, and police at Texas Christian University have warned students to be on the lookout for a man claiming to be an Uber driver who made "indecent comments" and while driving a student and tried to hug her as she demanded to be let out of the car.

Uber said the company builds safeguards into its app to protect riders from imposters. Riders are shown a picture of the car that will pick them up, its license plate number, a picture of the driver and the driver's first name.

Uber spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said drivers are trained to address riders by their first name when picking them up to verify they're affiliated with Uber. And, she said, riders don't have to wait outside in view of passing drivers.

"When you request a ride, you're notified when it arrives," Whaling said. "You don't have to wait on a street corner."

Lage told police the imposter vehicle was a blue Toyota RAV4 with older windows. The real driver drove a similarly colored Mazda, Lage said, and he was wearing sunglasses in his profile photo on Uber, obscuring his face. 

Lage said she should have paid more attention to those safety features. But in talking to friends about the experience, she said, she found many have similarly hopped into Uber cars without double-checking.

"I'm the very first to admit they do have some security measures I didn't pay attention to," she said. "If more women know this is a possibility, they won't make the same mistakes I did."

-- Elliot Njus

enjus@oregonian.com

 

Uber is the new Napster

PETER ZAHAKOS, SPECIAL TO THE TORONTO SUN

FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2015 07:41 PM EDT |

Remember Napster? That revolutionary file sharing service that changed the way people listened, bought and stored music. It changed everything in a multibillion-dollar industry reserved for elites who thought they ran the show.

Its business model mirrored Robin Hood. Take something someone else created, make it available for less, and make a killing along the way. It was a sharing model driven by exploiting copyright laws. Metallica and other bands eventually shut them down. Napster simply took what it wanted until lawmakers said enough.

Sound familiar? Uber is the new Napster, exploiting loopholes in current laws to overtake the market. It’s described by some as a game changer. But Uber hasn’t reinvented the wheel. It is simply stealing the tires and putting them on shiny unlicensed, uninsured cars for hire.

At a recent committee hearing in Toronto, dozens of UberX drivers sang the praises of their multibillion-dollar foreign employer. But most had no clue they were breaking the law by admitting they didn’t have commercial insurance. Many admitted they aren’t even collecting HST.

You could literally see their expression change from pride to fear after realizing they may face a huge tax bill at year’s end. Or worse, may not be covered if anything were to happen to their car or passenger.

These Uber champions revealed a lot. Laws are being broken. And Toronto is doing nothing to stop it.

In an attempt to level the playing field, the city came up with a framework. But the solution ties the hands of the taxi industry and gives Uber a free ride, creating separate rules for ridesharing companies.

The taxi industry rejects the creation of a new category for rideshares. It would mean different rules, different insurance guidelines, licensing and no set pricing. How is that fair?

Uber must not receive special treatment while existing companies continue to play by the rules.

The cab industry isn’t perfect. When our drivers err, we are held to account. We work with police. We suffer the wrath of our errors under the watchful eye of the media.

What we don’t accept is a company operating in secrecy — not divulging how drivers are insured or what background checks reveal.

When dealing with mass transportation, the city has an obligation to ensure public safety. Just recently police reported a female passenger was sexually assaulted by someone alleged to be an UberX driver. While the courts will ultimately decide with that case, one wonders if regulations requiring the installation of cameras in Uber vehicles — something cabs are mandated to have — would deter assaults and other crimes.

Last month, an UberX driver was dropped from his insurance company and Uber after an accident left his car totalled and him with serious injuries. He has lost everything and is now launching legal action against Uber.

Uber is making a killing — a $40-billion foreign company that has been allowed to exploit rules. It doesn’t invest in our communities and its money is kept out of our country. Does that benefit the local economy?

We also shoulder a huge responsibility of making sure people are safe. That there is a system in place to move passengers that has checks and balances. That has a guarantee of protection if and when things go wrong.

Like Napster, Uber has shocked the world into a new reality. The sharing economy will continue to evolve. Today it’s the cab industry. Tomorrow TTC busses could find themselves Ubered. You paying attention, unions? City officials can’t put this paste back into the tube, but they can and must move quickly to create rules that allow us to compete fairly.

— Zahakos is CEO of Co-op Cabs

 

"This article is from Canada. The same problems have happened in the U.S. and around the world. If an UberX driver won't call their insurance company to see if they're covered-that should be the first red flag!" -A#1 Cab Dispatch