Watch CBS News

After Carjackings And Even Murders, Rideshare Drivers Call On Lawmakers To Require Stronger App Security Regulations

CHICAGO (CBS) -- With Chicago caught in a carjacking epidemic, frightened rideshare drivers across the city are always in fear that their next pickup could be their last.

The rideshare drivers are demanding more protection after another driver was murdered this week. As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported, the drivers said the first step is fixing the apps.

Rideshare drivers took it step further Thursday night, requesting lawmakers make companies verify who exactly is requesting a ride. It is a move they believe will likely remove that target from criminals.

Unsettling nerves for rideshare drivers, Javier Ramos died after getting carjacked by his passenger and shot in the head in Lawndale this week. The murder highlighted the ongoing worry for those who work for Uber and Lyft.

"I'm afraid for myself. I'm afraid for my friends," said Lori Simmons, a rideshare driver and now organizer of the Chicago Gig Alliance. "We would love to see sort of stronger regulations around app security."

Specifically, the Chicago Gig Alliance wants those stronger regulations enacted by the two major rideshare app companies. Simmons said they have tried to get Lyft and Uber to make it mandatory that each customer using the apps is verified with valid IDs.

"People right now can open an account on Uber or Lyft using a burner phone using; using not their real name," Simmons said.

And with no luck from companies, the drivers are now turning to lawmakers for safety.

"We've had meetings with the Mayor's office before," Simmons said. "we're meeting with aldermen now to try to find out what would be the fastest and most reasonable way to pass legislation," Simmons said.

The Chicago Gig Alliance has put together a Workers' Bill of Rights with their demands.

[scribd id=500372050 key=key-Hn0EWf1UZyraMBwPl1JA mode=scroll]

Attorney Tim Tomasik has sued Uber and Lyft on behalf of customers.

"What's going on here is unfair, and rideshare is just disincentivized from improving safety - and it needs to change," Tomasik said. "I stand behind the drivers in that regard, but gosh, if we can't start with the customers and consumers first, these multibillion-dollar companies are going to keep doing what they're doing."

He said many of the drivers don't realize they are independent contractors and not employees of the companies.

Tomasik point out he is fighting rideshares to reveal the true crime stats happening over the apps.

"Until they are sued and brought into a court of law, and the matter is fully litigated, they won't," he said.

A Lyft spokesperson issued a statement late Thursday saying, "Safety is fundamental to Lyft and we're looking at a number of ways to enhance driver safety."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.