Sami's Law: New Jersey bill seeks protections for ride-hailing passengers

Mark Abrams
June 15, 2019 - 4:00 am
Man with orange jacket and sunglasses stopping taxi in the city street

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NEW JERSEY (KYW Newsradio) — Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign into law a bill that would require New Jersey ride-hailing companies to roll out more passenger-protection and driver ID measures.

The bill is known as Sami's Law and it's named in memory of Robbinsville, New Jersey native Samantha Josephson.

A college student whose body was found in a field hours after she got into a vehicle she mistakenly thought was her Uber ride died from multiple sharp force injuries, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Monday.
Columbia, SC Police Department via CNN

She's the University of South Carolina student who was abducted and killed in Columbia, back in March, after getting into a car she thought was her Uber.

RELATED: Slain University of South Carolina student died from multiple sharp force injuries, authorities say

Democratic Assemblyman Daniel Benson, the primary sponsor of the bill, said it was fast-tracked by both the Assembly and the state Senate.

It requires ride-hailing cars or vans display illuminated signs to show their affiliation, and Benson says there's a key security element for the passenger.

"The passenger side of the rear of the vehicle that notifies what the license plate number is, the driver's picture as well as a QR code a two-dimensional bar code," Benson said.

Benson explains that all the rider has to do is access the data is to use their smartphone.

"It allows the person to just lift up their phone and it will say: Yes this is the vehicle that I'm supposed to drive," Benson said.

He it's actually dual protection.

"This has safety benefits not only for the passenger but the driver as well," Benson said.

Benson said he's also heard from ride-hailing drivers.

"I've had many drivers tell us horror stories of folks stealing other people's ride share drive or worse just thinking that they may have some money on them and getting into their vehicle and letting them drive off before they realize it's not their intended passenger," Benson said.

Benson said Samantha's family has been especially supportive in the wake of the loss of their daughter.

"Really taking this tragedy and turning it into an educational experience for so many to keep them safe as well as advocating for this bill so we know that ride-sharing companies will be safe not only here in New Jersey but working at the federal government level to pass a similar law," Benson said.