Who knew left turns were so dangerous? Well, anyone driving in a city, like an Uber driver, has probably experienced a lot of the dangerous left turns. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:In 22 percent of accidents, a vehicle turns left at an intersection. Uber has a new solution to this problem: fewer left turns.
Uber announced today that its in-app navigation system will now recommend fewer left turns in an effort to reduce crashes and make travel safer overall. The adjustments are expected to be “minor” with little impact on travel time, but the effect will hopefully make for a less stressful experience for drivers.
Uber is also doubling down on in-car surveillance as a way to get drivers and drivers to behave properly. The company is expanding its audio recording pilot to more cities and is also introducing video recording. The theory is that most Uber drivers already use dashcams to record their journeys as a way to record unsafe behavior. Now Uber offers them a cheaper and easier way by updating the driver app with a video recording feature.
Similar to recording audio, video files are encoded and stored only on the user’s phone. Drivers can attach video files to safety reports they send to Uber, which are then viewed by trained security officers.
These features are not available nationwide. Uber says audio recordings will be available to drivers in Cincinnati, Nashville, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and Tucson starting next month. (The feature is already live in Raleigh-Durham, Kansas City and Louisville.) Video recording is being tested in Cincinnati, Louisville and New York City, as well as Santos and João Pessoa, Brazil.
Intersections also prove inconvenient for Uber drivers, so the company is adding a visual warning to its in-app navigation when drivers approach an intersection without a four-way stop. For example, the warning warns them to watch out for crossing traffic.
Finally, the company is conducting an audit to remove fake usernames, especially those using abusive language. Accounts using fake names will be blocked until users validate their account names. Drivers can also snitch at the company if they see fake usernames in the wild. (Drivers have posted about their experience with fake usernames on online forums.)