Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been hard at work reimagining the Uber experience with your health and safety in mind. We were the first to introduce mask verification technology for riders and drivers and to implement a new door-to-door safety standard, and we committed $50 million to provide drivers with free safety supplies around the world.

Whether you’re riding, driving, or delivering, we’re building new tools and technology to promote respectful interactions, hold anyone who uses Uber accountable, and help keep everyone safe. 

Now, as we look forward to a return to normal, we’re rolling out three new features you’ll only find on Uber: 

Audible Seat Belt Alerts 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that while Americans drove less in 2020 due to the pandemic, the number of vehicle fatalities is projected to be the highest since 2007. 

According to experts, wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways people can protect themselves during a crash. Yet studies show that a majority of adults admit to not buckling up in the back seat, which poses an increased risk to everyone in the car.

Based on feedback from drivers, Uber will soon launch a new proactive, audio seat belt alert that reminds riders to buckle up at the start of a trip. The audio alert will come from the driver’s phone and will be accompanied by a push notification to the rider’s phone reminding them to buckle up. We believe this new feature, which will be available nationally early next year, will increase seat belt use and help drivers ensure a safe environment while on a trip. 

RideCheck Enhancements 

Since the very first journey on Uber more than 10 years ago, we’ve used GPS data to put every trip on the map. We first introduced RideCheck in 2019, using GPS data and sensors in the driver’s smartphone to detect possible crashes or an unusually long stop during a trip.

Now, we have expanded the capabilities of our RideCheck technology to detect when a trip takes an unexpected route or when a trip ends unexpectedly before the rider’s final destination.

When our system detects a possible issue with a trip, both the rider and the driver will receive a RideCheck notification to ask if everything is OK. They can let us know through the app that all is well, or take other actions like using the emergency button or reporting the issue to Uber’s Safety Incident Reporting Line.

Audio Recording Feature 

Nearly two years ago, we launched our Audio Recording feature in Latin America to better support riders and drivers who report safety incidents to Uber. Thanks to a positive reception across the region, it is now available in 14 countries, including Mexico and Brazil. Later this month, we’ll begin piloting the feature in three US cities. 

Once riders and drivers enable this feature, they can choose to record audio by tapping the shield icon on the map screen and selecting “Record Audio.” Riders and drivers can choose to record individual trips, and drivers will also have the option to leave the feature on while they’re online. Before the trip, we’ll let the rider know in their app if a driver has opted into the feature.

To help protect privacy, the audio file is encrypted and stored on the rider and driver’s devices—and by default no one can listen to the audio, including Uber. If either user submits a safety report to Uber, they can attach the audio file to their report. At that point, a trained Uber safety agent will decrypt and review the submitted audio recording, as well as any other relevant information, to help determine what happened and the best course of action. Importantly, it is the user’s choice when to record audio and when to share it with Uber. For more details on this feature, including answers to common questions, please see the Audio Recording information page.

Throughout Latin America this feature has been a popular way to promote safe, comfortable interactions while on a trip. For instance, nearly 70% of riders and drivers surveyed in Rio de Janeiro told us this feature helped them feel safer when using Uber.   

Our Safety Report shows that the vast majority of trips on the Uber platform result in no safety reports at all, but in the rare event that things go wrong, we want to make more safety resources available to users. 

We’re always looking out for your safety. Your trips are GPS tracked, your loved ones can follow your route in real time, and you can get emergency help through the app at the push of a button. As the world starts moving again, we’ll keep working to develop and deliver new features to help enhance your safety and give you more peace of mind when using Uber.