NJ Congressman authors 'Sami's Law' for stronger ride-share protections
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) has authored a bill to require all rideshare vehicles to have a Quick Response (QR) code on both back passenger doors so riders can check to see that the car has the correct driver, according to a U.S. House of Representatives press release.
The law is named Sami’s Law, to honor Samantha “Sami” Josephson, a University of South Carolina senior who was kidnapped and murdered by someone pretending to be her Uber driver, according to the release.
“The idea for the legislation came directly from the grieving parents of a young woman brutally murdered by a fake Uber driver. Now we know there are significant personal safety concerns associated with actual Uber and Lyft drivers as well — not just the fakes — that are not well appreciated or publicized,” Smith said in his testimony to Congress a couple of weeks ago, according to the release.
He added: “Almost immediately and notwithstanding their excruciating agony over the loss of their precious daughter, Sami’s parents — Seymour and Marci Josephson — began pushing for federal and state legislation to better ensure that no one else loses their life or gets assaulted by a rideshare driver or a predator who pretends to be.”
Smith, at one point, noted the sale of false signage online, while Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), was able to find false signs for Uber and Lyft on Amazon for approximately $8.99, according to the release.
The Josephson family has been meeting with members of Congress and staff, as well as White House officials, according to the release. The family is hoping to educate people on the issue and is advocating for laws and policies that would protect rideshare customers from entering the wrong vehicle.
If the law were to be passed, states that chose not to follow the law will receive a 1% decrease in their federal highway funding, according to the release. The bill would also mandate state-issued front license plates for rideshare vehicles and illuminated windshield signs visible day and night, according to the release.
“Earlier this year, Sami Josephson called for an Uber, entered the wrong car and was murdered. Our Smith/Suozzi bill works to provide consumers with a level of safety before entering a vehicle. The Josephson family is not alone. It is shocking that Uber and Lyft have not taken this seriously and refused to attend today’s hearing. We need common-sense bipartisan solutions to these safety and other issues hitting this new industry,” said Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), a cosponsor of the bill, according to the release.
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