Watch CBS News

Rideshare Safety A Growing Concern After Pair Of Separate Miami Beach Sex Assault Incidents

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Every hour of every day, dozens of rideshare contractors line up outside South Florida airports waiting for business.

Operators say you can earn between $1,000 and $2,000 a week, driving in south Florida.

"It's March, so there are a lot of people in and out constantly. It's a lot of business" said rideshare driver Lucas Testia.

And becoming a rideshare contractor is a relatively simple process. You can apply online. And after providing basic information, proving you are insured and undergo a background check, you can sign up to drive in as little as a week.

But while sign up may be fast, recent allegations against Lyft drivers has slowed confidence in the driver selection process. Two separate Lyft drivers were arrested recently on charges of sexually assaulting women passengers in their cars on Miami Beach.

Lyft responded to safety concerns in an email.

"Our goal is to make every Lyft ride as safe as we possibly can, which is why we are constantly working to develop new features, policies and partnerships to help protect and support riders and drivers," said a spokesman.

Lyft said it has emergency help supported by ADT, the home security company. Without having to speak a word, riders can immediately and discreetly trigger emergency assistance from ADT, who can dispatch and pass along details and live location to authorities. Lyft has an ADT icon on their APP, which riders can access.

Lyft also has "smart trip check in. So if they notice certain irregularities with rides, the company said it reaches out to riders directly.

Lyft also said all drivers undergo initial and annual background checks and there is continuous criminal and driving record monitoring.

Still passengers want ride sharing companies to do more.

Lauren Gordhamer, who arrived In South Florida last week for a visit, said she uses rideshare practically every day and has seen her share of characters.

"There's a lot of creepy drivers out there," she said, describing how some have made inappropriate remarks during her ride.

When asked if she ever reported trouble, Gordhamer said, "No, because usually they know where I live."

When asked what might be done to improve safety, Gordheimer said the company should do in-person interviewing and physically look at the cars the candidates are driving.

Experts say these are some steps to follow when booking a rideshare.

–Avoid excessive alcohol

–Have a friend ride along

–Let someone know you are enroute

–Ask to be let off if you feel uncomfortable

–Report bad behavior to the app

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.