SC lawmaker proposes ride-sharing law after USC student's death

Uber drivers are required to have a sticker on the windshield as identifies. (FOX Carolina/ April 2, 2019)

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) If you get into Michelle Pickens' van it will make for an interesting ride.

“The riders love it- definitely has helped with ratings," Pickens said.

She's an Uber driver known around Greenville for her themed rides. Right now, it's a birthday bash ride- she celebrated her's in March.

“We’ll get ready to put up Easter," she said.

As a driver she wants to make sure she and her riders are safe.

“If the drop-off location and the name don’t match then I know I don’t have the right person," Pickens said.

When she heard about Samantha Josephson, the University of South Carolina student, killed after getting into what she thought was an Uber, Pickens also thought about young riders she picks up.

“As a rider you get the picture of your driver, you get a description of the vehicle and you get the tag number," Pickens said.

She says riders should also have a sticker.

“They’re always supposed to be on the passenger’s lower side of the windshield," she said.

Now, South Carolina Representative Seth Rose, who represents Richland County and the Five Points area, which is the area where Josephson got into that car, wants Uber and Lyft drivers to have illuminated stickers.

The stickers are also called beacons that are placed on their windshields. Police arrested Nathaniel Rowland and charged him with murder. They say Rowland killed Josephson and dumped her body in a field in Clarendon County, which is about an hour outside of Columbia.

“If you want to do business in South Carolina was these ride-sharing industries, then this is something that will be required of you," Rose said.

He says Josephson's father asked the community not to forget his daughter's name and he believes his proposed bill will help save lives.

“This bill is going to be named the Samantha Josephson Ride Sharing Safety Act," Rose said.

“It would have to be a light that would come from the companies themselves. So, this isn’t going to be ‘Oh let me go go buy something at the store.”

On Tuesday, Nikki Falvey and Jennifer Harvell power-walked through downtown Greenville, but when they are taking a walk, sometimes they are catching an Uber or Lyft rides.

“If they can’t tell me my name, then I’m not going to get into the car with them," Harvell said.

She says those beacons won't do enough to ensure safety.

“Even if it’s regulated, I don’t know how they would be able to distinguish which one is a

legitimate sticker versus someone who just bought one," Harvell said.

Nikki Falvey agrees with her friend and says maybe they'll be more noticeable than the current stickers drivers are required to post.

“At first glance I guess it would help," Falvey said.

However, she says she and her friends do other things to try and stay safe.

"Sharing rides too, like having a friend go with you and not taking one by yourself especially if you’re a woman," she said.

Pickens will continue to offer rides and one theme is always the same- safety.

Copyright 2019 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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