Millions of people have come to rely on Uber for daily commutes, special nights out, and reliable transportation for their loved ones. Riders are served by the hundreds of thousands of Uber driver partners whose service reduces drunk and distracted driving, meets a critical transportation need in underserved communities and simply makes life easier.

Putting safety first for each of the one million trips we are doing every day means setting strict safety standards, then working hard to improve them every day. We are reminded by the recent tragic event in India that best-in-class safety must be a constant quest. We owe it to all our riders, driver partners and communities around the world to examine what we can do better and then do everything we can to make more progress on safety. Having recently joined Uber to lead Global Safety after building a first-of-its-kind safety program at Airbnb and before that serving in the U.S. military, it’s a mission I am passionate about.

“In November, Uber’s safety team began a global review to assess the areas where greater investment is required. As we look to 2015, we will build new safety programs and intensify others.”

We believe deeply that, alongside our driver partners, we have built a safe transportation option in 260 cities around the world. Every ride is traced by GPS, making it easy for us to work with public safety officials to ensure our communities are protected. Our technology includes a two-way rating system to help ensure only the top drivers stay on the platform and riders are also held accountable. Our app also displays a driver’s photo, license plate number, and vehicle type, so when our riders enter a car, they know with confidence it’s the right one with the right driver. And across the U.S. and in dozens of countries around the world Uber conducts thorough, multi-layered background checks that have resulted in tens-of-thousands of potential drivers being denied the opportunity to partner on the Uber platform.

But we have more work to do, and we will do it. Uber is committed to developing new technology tools that improve safety, strengthen and increase the number of cities and countries where background checks are conducted and improve communication with local officials and law enforcement.

To that end, in November, Uber’s safety team began a global review to assess the areas where greater investment is required. As we look to 2015, we will build new safety programs and intensify others. The review is still underway, but here is our current roadmap:

Technology: Our Safety Product Team is developing more ways to put technology to work to ensure the safety of riders and drivers in key areas. We are initiating research & development on biometrics and voice verification to build custom tools for enhanced driver screening. We are also investing in ways to provide riders the instant ability to communicate with us and their loved ones in the event of an emergency, building on top of our ShareMyETA feature.
Background Checks: In many places outside the U.S., the infrastructure and complexity of background checks vary significantly. This is of deep concern to us. We are finding solutions in many places that range from polygraph exams that fill gaps in available data to adding our own processes on top of existing screening for commercial licenses – which is what we are undertaking in India. We are exploring new ways to screen drivers globally, using scientific analysis and technology to find solutions.
Service and Support: Our 2-way feedback system has introduced unprecedented transparency to transportation. But as our rapid growth continues, our customer service must evolve to keep pace. We are thrilled to announce that Tim Collins is joining Uber to lead Global Support. Prior to joining Uber, Tim spent 15 years at Amazon leading operations and customer support teams. Most recently, Tim led Amazon’s Europe Operations with over 18,000 employees, so look for more updates soon in this important area. We are also building Safety Incident Response teams around the world with the goal of providing 24/7, immediate support in the event of a safety incident.
Advisory and Training Partnerships: We will be working with partners that have deep expertise in issues like women’s safety, conflict resolution, and road safety and incorporate their counsel into our global safety roadmap. We are already working with RAINN to train various members of our safety and support teams.

Executing well in these areas, acting on recommendations suggested by partners and drawing on experience gleaned by delivering 140 million rides worldwide this year will lead to a new standard in safety for transportation. Of course, no background check can predict future behavior and no technology can yet fully prevent bad actions. But our responsibility is to leverage every smart tool at our disposal to set the highest standard in safety we can. We will not shy away from this task.

We will make sure to update you on our progress, and if you have any ideas, please feel free to send them to

Phillip Cardenas
Head of Global Safety at Uber