Consumer Alert: Uber introduces new safety features to allow teens to ride alone

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Deanna Dewberry starts Thursday’s consumer alert with a question for parents. Would you let your teenager ride alone in an Uber? If the answer is no, Uber is hoping its new teen tracking system will change your mind.

Uber is addressing the reservations of parents by making a number of current safety features permanent and introducing a few more.

Current safety features were put in place after Uber was sued by people who claim they were assaulted, kidnapped or stalked by an Uber driver. For example, a San Francisco law firm filed a suit last year representing 550 clients.

Uber’s new safety features for teen riders include giving riders the ability to alert authorities inside the app. This allows you to see your driver’s picture, get information about their safety rating, and number of trips.

Here’s how the teen rider program will work. The program is for teens 13 to 17. Your teen’s account will be linked to yours. When your teen gets in, he’ll have to provide a pin. Your child’s smartphone will create an encrypted audio recording. And if the app detects something is wrong, it will show emergency options.

As a parent, you’ll be able to track the car for the entire trip. You also have the ability to contact the driver directly. Only experienced drivers will be opted into the program. And drivers have the right to opt out.

The program rolls out on Monday, May 22nnd in more than a dozen large cities like Atlanta. Dallas, and New York City. Uber plans to expand it to more cities in the coming months.