In light of the unfortunate events at the University of South Carolina, here is some information that may pertain to your student at Ole Miss.
When Uber and other rideshare services were first launched, we were skeptical about getting in a stranger’s car; however, the rideshare industry has seen a booming growth in recent years. We have become more and more comfortable with getting in the car with a complete stranger and trusting them to take us to our destination. This method of transportation has proven to be handy and reliable, but there is still a lingering possibility of potentially dangerous accidents—and that’s exactly what happened in Columbia, South Carolina, last week.
Samantha Josephson, a student at the University of South Carolina, was returning home after a night out when she mistook a car for her Uber and rode away with a random civilian. She was reported missing 12 hours later. Two hours after a report was filed, her body was discovered with multiple stab wounds. Josephson’s murder has gained national coverage and has captured the attention of people across the country. It has also reignited a discussion of safety regarding the rideshare industry.
If your student uses Uber or Lyft, here are some safety precautions they should take whenever catching a ride home.
Check the license plate of the car and make sure it matches what is on the app.
Always check the driver’s picture.
Open the back door and ask who the driver is supposed to pick up. DO NOT give your name. Make them tell you.
Verify that the child locks are not on. Never hesitate to ask the driver, because it is important to exit the vehicle quickly in the case of an emergency.
Let your roommate know to expect you and/or text your parents that you will be using Uber.
If you have a family/friend tracking app, make sure it is activated.
Always share your ride information with a friend, family member, or roommate.
NEVER UBER ALONE (especially girls)!!!
Ole Miss has a special app tailored to student safety called LiveSafe. LiveSafe allows students to communicate directly with safety officials for protection. The goal of the app is to prevent crimes before they occur. Students can report threats, disturbances, stalking, and suspicious activity. The LiveSafe app is free and can be downloaded on the App Store or on Google Play.
Also, our friends at EZ-RYDR, a service that offers unlimited rides for a monthly rate, performs extensive background checks and drug screens for all of their drivers. Additionally, they offer an emergency button on the app in case of emergency during a ride.
The tragedy in South Carolina is heartbreaking, but it serves as an important reminder of why we should always pay attention. Going over seemingly obvious safety concerns with parents may cause some eye rolling, but it is important that students make an effort to stay safe when trusting an unfamiliar driver with their lives.