Uber driver Jason Dalton accused of Kalamazoo mass murder spree.
MARLTON, N.J. — In an effort to learn more about the thoughts and opinions of the general public following the horrific shooting spree by an on-duty Uber driver in Michigan last month, the National Limousine Association (NLA) issued a nationwide survey on the subjects of safety and communications in the private ground transportation industry.
The survey, conducted online by Harris Poll and commissioned by the NLA in Feb., 2016 among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, reveals that an overwhelming 93% of consumers feel they should be able to contact a car service operator or dispatcher in real-time if they do not feel safe during a car service ride. Additionally, nine in 10 say passengers of all car services should have the ability to speak to a live customer service operator or dispatcher at any time and 85% of consumers believe that it should be the sole responsibility of the car service provider to discipline or relieve a driver of their duties if they are driving or behaving in an unsafe manner. These startling results have prompted the announcement of the NLA’s 2016 Day on the Hill in Washington, D.C on April 26-27.
Said Scott Solombrino, NLA co-founder: “The tragic and horrific acts committed in Kalamazoo, Michigan are the latest in a string of incidents involving ride-hailing service drivers, many of which could have been avoided or averted with due diligence and basic communications protocols. Without suitably comprehensive background checks to prevent unfit drivers from getting behind the wheel or reliable early-warning standards and practices to monitor, respond and react to potentially dangerous driver situations, these services are putting passengers, drivers and the general public at risk. As the survey results illustrate, the public overwhelmingly believes that car service users should have access to a live customer service operator, which ride-hailing application services such as Uber and Lyft do not provide. This lack of real-time communications with these service providers is putting the lives of millions in our communities at risk, including drivers, passengers and the general public.”
To this end, the NLA launched Ride Responsibly in February 2015. The program is an unprecedented effort to bridge an industry-wide gap between the rights of passengers and the responsibilities of service providers, promoting best practices in regards to driver and passenger safety and duty of care. The NLA will meet with legislators and decision makers in Washington next month in order to raise awareness and garner support for the universal safety, privacy and accountability standards so profoundly needed in the industry.
“The NLA and its members understand and champion customer service as a cornerstone of our business, and value personal contact and relationships, both with drivers and passengers, as one of the most critical aspects of their responsibility as transportation providers,” added Gary Buffo, NLA president. “The ability to identify, address and rectify customer, employee and safety issues, in order to offer exemplary service, is the mission of our members and their organizations, and a mission that we feel is glaringly absent from the agenda of ride-hailing services, which all too often leads to disastrous consequences. We urge our legislative leaders to consider improved accountability and uniformity for background checks and access to live customer service operators, for all related personnel, to maximize safety for consumers, employees and others on the highways and roads,” he said.