NC ‘Rideshare Safety’ Law Takes Effect As Charlotte Uber Driver Arrested on Sexual Assault Charges

RALEIGH – A new law in North Carolina, which was originally introduced by House Majority Leader John Bell as the Passenger Protection Act (HB 391), began taking effect Tuesday to improve ridesharing safety in the wake of the tragic murder of University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson by someone impersonating her Uber driver.

The law is designed to protect people from bad actors impersonating rideshare drivers to pick up their next victim. Rideshare drivers in North Carolina will now be required to display a printed license plate number on the front of their vehicle to help people properly identify their Uber or Lyft. The vehicle’s license plate number displayed must be printed in a legible font no smaller than three inches in height. Starting July 1, 2020, rideshare drivers will also be required to have illuminated signage in their vehicles.

Today marks a huge improvement in the safety of ridesharing in North Carolina,” said Bell. “These new safeguards will help keep our citizens safe and hopefully serve as a national model for other states. I am proud to have helped lead this bipartisan effort to make ridesharing safer in North Carolina.”
But while the new law makes it easier for citizens to identify the ride they booked, Bell notes that people still need to be vigilant when using these services, even when it is the actual Uber you called for. A woman in Kernersville found that out in the worst of ways in June, when her Uber driver took her to a separate location and sexually assaulted her. The driver was recently arrested and charged.

“Tarik Aitouali, 39, picked up a woman and agreed to take her to a location in the early morning of June 27, according to an email Tuesday from the Kernersville Police Department.

He instead brought her to a different destination “without her consent and committed a sexual offense,” spokesman Blake Jones wrote.

Police say the passenger was “physically helpless at the time.” […]”

At the very least rideshare consumers will now be better able to make sure the car they’re getting into is the actual ride they called, and not someone with sinister motives.

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