In July, a man was sentenced to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of murdering a woman who got into his car, thinking it was a rideshare.
Samantha Josephson was trying to get home safely after a night of drinking in South Carolina, and security camera footage showed her getting into Nathaniel Rowland’s car outside of a bar. It was late and dark outside, and the 21-year-old thought Rowland’s car was her rideshare. He used the child safety lock to trap her inside the vehicle, where he then stabbed her a total of 120 times, a number that’s hard to wrap your head around.
Rideshares like Uber and Lyft were introduced as a safe way to get home after a night of drinking, but time has poked multiple holes in the safety of these apps.
Josephson’s tragic death caused alarm and outcry from multiple parties, including our ridesharing accident attorneys in Newport Beach. This tragedy has thankfully resulted in multiple regulations to protect rider safety.
In 2019, South Carolina signed the Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act into law, requiring rideshare vehicles to display license plate numbers on the front.
Also in 2019, New Jersey’s governor signed Sami’s Law, requiring more identification on rideshare vehicles so that they can be better identified in the dark. The law also makes rideshare companies give their drivers two credential placards to be placed on the driver and passenger side back windows. They must also have an identifying sticker, usually the rideshare logo, on the front windshield and back window. Additionally, rideshare companies must give their drivers two barcodes that can be scanned with a phone to confirm their identities.
New York state also took action to make sure riders can better identify rideshare vehicles. Rideshare drivers must have signs on their vehicles that are readable from 50 feet away during daylight hours and illuminated at night.
On top of that, Josephson’s parents have worked at a federal level to protect other young people from going through what their daughter endured that night. In July 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved “Sami’s Law,” requiring Uber and Lyft vehicles to have front license plates and illuminated windshield signs along with scannable or quick-response codes on the sides.
States that do not comply with Sami’s Law would be penalized by losing 1% of federal highway funding. Sami’s Law also includes a 15-member advisory council that will meet regularly to discuss and modify safety standards in the rideshare industry.
Samantha Josephson’s innocent yet fatal mistake has woken up the American public to the dangers of ridesharing. Our injury attorneys in Newport Beach give our condolences to Josephson’s family and encourage anyone who has felt unsafe in a rideshare vehicle to report the matter to authorities.