Uber’s New Program For Underage Passengers

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    Minors Can Now Ride An Uber Unaccompanied By Adults

    Uber introduced an updated feature to expand its ride-hailing service to a wider range of users. This key feature is the option for teenagers aged 13–17 to request and ride in Uber cars by themselves. Parents and guardians can still remotely monitor their teens’ trips using the Uber app.

    Uber for teens was rolled out on May 22, 2023, in dozens of cities in Canada and the United States. The rideshare company planned to launch the program in more cities in the coming months before their announcement.

    Before, Uber attempted to allow teenagers to travel independently, but the outcome was unsuccessful. In 2017, the company initiated a trial program in Seattle, Phoenix, and Columbus where parents could arrange rides for their teenagers. However, drivers weren’t informed when they were picking up a teen, which caused many to express worries about potential legal issues.

    This time, teenagers who want to create an Uber account must complete a mandatory safety training course. Drivers are not required to undergo any additional screenings beyond the standard background and criminal history checks already in place. Only drivers with consistently high ratings will be eligible to transport underage passengers under this new feature.

    How Uber For Teens Works

    Teenager riding an Uber

    Uber has made it easy for teenagers to set up an account. Here’s how the process works:

    • Step 1 – The parent or guardian creates a family profile.
    • Step 2 – They choose their teen’s name from their contacts and send an invite.
    • Step 3 – Guardians ensure their payment method is up-to-date.
    • Step 4 – The underage passenger receives an invitation via text.
    • Step 5 – The teen undergoes a mandatory safety onboarding process.
    • Step 6 – Once completed, the teen can request their first ride.

    Uber For Teens Safety Features

    Safety is the number one concern for every parent and guardian out there. To ensure the safety of teens throughout their ride and give peace of mind to their family members, Uber offers the following features:

    Live Trip Tracking

    Uber notifies guardians whenever their teenagers request a ride. This feature allows them to follow their teens’ entire journey and receive real-time updates. They can also go back and check past trips by viewing the Activity Hub. Teen trips are also destination-locked for added security. This means only the teens—not the drivers or guardians—can change their destination.

    Verify My Ride

    Teens must provide an Uber driver with a unique PIN before entering the vehicle, and the driver must enter the right code into the Driver app to start the trip. This PIN verification process ensures teens get into the right car.

    RideCheck

    Uber will keep track of suspicious actions, such as when a ride deviates from the suggested route, ends early, or stops suddenly. Teens will receive an in-app message confirming if they need help.

    Audio Recording

    Teens can opt to have the entire trip recorded through the Uber app for a safer, more comfortable experience. However, to maintain privacy, nobody can access the recording unless a user submits an incident report to the Uber support team and includes the audio file.

    In-App Emergency Button

    Pressing this button allows teens to call 911 in the event of an emergency. Teens who want to report a safety incident through the app can go to Help > Report Safety Issue. They can also call Uber’s Safety Incident Reporting Line, which both guardians and teens can access during the trip.

    Other Uber safety features include:

    • Educating teens about the app’s safety features through their mandatory safety training
    • Letting parents and guardians contact the driver at any time during the trip
    • Allowing guardians to set a budget or spending limit for teen accounts
    • Allowing only highly rated and experienced drivers and couriers in Uber for teens
    • Filtering out age-restricted items, such as alcohol and some medications (for Uber Eats)

    Most of these features are always on and cannot be turned off. Audio recording is optional, but if teens set it up and give Uber microphone access, the feature will always be on for all rides.

    Pros And Cons Of Using Uber For Teens

    Are teenagers better off using Uber than waiting for their guardians to drive them around? That depends on their specific needs and considerations.

    Here are the pros and cons of allowing underage passengers to ride alone:

    Advantages Of Using Uber As A Teen

    Parent tracking feature of Uber for Teens

    • Convenience – Teens can easily book a ride with just a few taps on their phones. Plus, parents no longer have to panic about running out of time to accommodate their children’s transportation demands.
    • Independence – Having the option to ride solo can give teens a sense of independence. They don’t have to wait for their parents’ availability to go home or visit a friend. Also, riding solo with Uber can be a good alternative for teens who feel anxious about driving.
    • Safety – Uber has taken great measures to make its teen rides as safe as possible. The rideshare service also ensures that only trusted drivers who consistently receive positive feedback can accept teen rides. Additionally, Uber has a million-dollar insurance policy for accidents.
    Disadvantages Of Using Uber As A Teen
    • High Costs – While convenient, relying frequently on Uber can be costly in the long run, making it a less economical option for families with a tight budget.
    • Exposure To Uncomfortable And Potentially Dangerous Situations – Uber offers built-in safety features. However, there’s still a risk for teens to get unsolicited comments from rideshare drivers or experience other forms of harassment. Driving with family may offer better safety and comfort.
    • Long Waiting Times During Peak Hours – Uber drivers can get busy during peak hours, leading teens to wait longer than usual. This could disrupt schedules and cause delays.
    • Overdependence – Teens who prefer to ride with Uber might not get motivated to learn a critical life skill, which is driving. Learning to drive a car has been a common rite of passage among teenagers, but it may not be the case for those who overly rely on ridesharing services like Uber.

    Safety Concerns With Teens Using Uber

    Anita Roberts, Safeteen CEO and founder, noted that Uber’s decision to give more freedom to teens can have certain benefits, but it also involves inevitable risks. Consider the following safety concerns before letting your teens take Uber rides on their own:

    Minors Need Strict Supervision

    Unlike adults, minors require a high level of supervision when using a rideshare app like Uber. Children may not be mature enough to understand the dangers of riding alone in Uber cars, so they need an adult to guide them.

    Guardians can track teen trips in real time, but they can only do so much in an emergency. In most cases, they can only call the authorities or report the incident to Uber. But if they are in an Uber with their teen, they might be able to do more to protect them.

    Minors May Not Know What To Do In Dangerous Situations

    In the face of danger, minors may panic and not know what to do. They may not even recognize a dangerous situation as it happens.

    Minors need guardians to teach them about the dangers they might encounter when riding an Uber. They also need to learn what to do in these instances, like when the course stops unexpectedly due to a car accident. However, since anything can happen during a trip, reminding them to stay vigilant may not be enough of a safety measure.

    Some Uber Drivers Could Be More Dangerous Than Others

    Uber conducts a criminal background check through the National Crime Check (NCC). However, the process doesn’t involve checking international crime records.

    Years ago, Uber had controversial issues regarding accepting drivers with criminal histories. In 2018, Uber cleared thousands of criminals to become Uber drivers. Some of those drivers committed crimes such as abusing and sexually assaulting passengers.

    Teens are especially vulnerable when riding with someone they don’t know, as they cannot flee easily. Underage teens who travel without an accompanying adult are at risk of being trafficked by criminals who target susceptible and unaccompanied kids.

    Predators are everywhere. If the Uber driver is an abuser, they will know where the child lives, hangs out with friends, or attends school. Keeping the new teen account feature 100% safe for kids will be hard. The addition of the new feature may also not be in the best interests of children, as Roberts pointed out.

    Another concern for guardians is that many teens will likely use the rideshare service to go home after an evening of underage drinking. This scenario creates risks, especially since intoxicated teens are more vulnerable to predators. Safeteen encourages young people to trust their intuition. Teens must actively look out for signs of predatory drivers. If something seems suspicious, they must immediately contact their parents or guardians.

    Safety Tips When Using Uber For Teens

    It’s normal for teenagers to want some sense of freedom and independence. However, they first need to learn about the dangers of riding solo and what to do if an accident occurs.

    When your child wants to ride solo, you must take every precaution to ensure their safety. Keep in mind the following safety tips before allowing your child to book a ride on their own:

    Ensure The Uber Driver Has A High Rating

    As a guardian, you must check if the driver has a high rating and has given many rides. You can visit the Uber app to access essential information about the driver.

    Tell your teen to cancel the ride and request a different driver if the first one has a poor rating and minimal driving experience.

    Double-Check Before Letting Your Child Enter The Car

    Verify that the car and driver indicated in the reservation match those who arrived. Getting into the wrong car at airports or on crowded streets can be all too easy, and sometimes, it has tragic consequences.

    Make sure your child doesn’t introduce themselves first. Let them ask the driver to say the passenger’s name who booked the ride.

    Encourage Your Child To Be Observant Throughout The Ride

    The app allows you to track the trip in real-time. However, it does not show what actually happens inside the vehicle during the trip.

    Tell your child to stay alert during Uber rides. Make sure they have your phone number on speed dial. They should immediately contact you if they notice any strange changes in direction or experience any form of harassment from the driver.

    Use The Share My Trip Feature

    There may be times when you’re not available to monitor your teen’s trip. Fortunately, Uber has a “Share My Trip” feature so others can also monitor the trip if necessary.

    With this convenient feature, contacts will be able to view the trips shared with them. You can add up to five contacts to “Manage Trusted Contacts” on the Uber app. This way, you can make sure someone else can monitor your teen’s Uber ride when you can’t.

    Take Photos

    You can advise your teen to capture photos of the car and license plate before entering the vehicle. Then, they can send pictures to family and friends before the ride starts.

    This extra measure may prove helpful if something unfortunate happens during the trip. You can also add photos when you end up filing a report with Uber and the police.

    Call 911 When Needed

    Call 911 When Needed

    Uber allows direct calls to 911 from its app; just swipe up to access the safety toolkit. You’ll also find the 911 button and panic button there.

    Teach your child to push the 911 button immediately when necessary. This makes it easier to inform the police of their location and the details of the Uber car.

    Parents and guardians have the responsibility to keep their children away from harm. Ultimately, they will be the ones to decide whether their younger loved ones are ready to ride independently. Teaching minors these safety measures is the best way to keep them safe on Uber rides.

    Safety Concerns Of Parents Regarding Ride-Sharing Services For Their Teens

    Ride-sharing services are a new way for teens to get around in some places. To see what parents think about this, a 2019 survey by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health asked parents of teenagers (ages 14 to 18) about their concerns and feelings regarding ride-sharing services.

    • One in eight parents said that their teens aged 14 to 17 used a ridesharing service either solo or with another teen.
    • 67% of parents were worried that a rideshare driver would sexually assault their teens.
    • 73% were concerned about unsafe driving practices, particularly speeding and distracted driving.
    • 59% of parents were concerned about drunk driving.

    New ride-sharing options are popping up in some areas, designed to ease parents’ worries about letting teens and younger kids travel alone. Some apps even let parents track the ride and the driver’s speed for extra peace of mind. As families juggle busy schedules, these services will likely become more widespread.

    Regardless of the service used, parents should always discuss potential risks with their teens before they start using any ride-sharing app. It’s a good idea to come up with a safety plan together.

    FAQs About Uber’s New Program For Underage Passengers
    Can Guardians Book Rides For Their Teens?

    No. Teen account holders must request an Uber ride using their own account. This helps ensure that teens can directly access the built-in safety features and benefits found in the Uber for teens app.

    Can Teens Take Trips To Another City?

    Yes. Teen account holders can book rides in any city where Uber teen accounts are available.

    How Does The Payment Method Work?

    Teen account holders will use their parents’ default payment option in the family profile when making a ride reservation or ordering a meal. Guardians may limit spending by setting individual limits. They will receive notifications when their teens are close to using up their monthly limit.

    How Can Guardians Keep Track Of Teen Rides And Delivery Orders?

    Click on the notification you receive on your phone when your teen requests a ride or buys a meal. Then, you can monitor the ride or delivery in the Uber app using live trip or delivery tracking. You can also visit the Activity section of your Uber app to access live trip monitoring. Go to the Account > Orders section on the Uber Eats app to access delivery tracking.

    Can My Teen Bring Another Rider?

    Your teen can bring other riders aged 13 years or older. Underage passengers must have permission from their parents or guardians, and all teens must stay in the back seat and wear a seat belt.

    Can Teens Turn Off The Safety Features?

    Essential safety features cannot be turned off as they are built into the Uber teen program experience. The only feature your teen must set up manually is the audio recording feature, which automatically records every trip.

    Can I Contact My Teen’s Driver?

    You can. Go to the Activity section on your Uber app to contact your teen’s Uber driver. Or select the teen ride push notification and press the phone icon beside the driver’s name. Alternatively, you can visit the live trip tracking page and press the phone icon to call the Uber driver.

    What Happens To My Teen’s Uber Account When They Turn 18?

    When your teen turns 18, their account becomes a standard Uber account. However, the account will remain on your Family profile, so you can still monitor their rides and orders.

    Can My Teens Order Alcohol On Uber Eats?

    No. Your teen will have a child-friendly view of the Uber Eats app. They will not have access to alcohol, certain medications, or other age-restricted items.

    Cities Where Uber For Teens Accounts Are Available

    Uber For Teens in US

    Teen accounts are available in the following cities:

    • Alabama – Auburn, Birmingham, Dothan, East Alabama, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, The Shoals, and Tuscaloosa
    • Alaska – Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kodiak, and Sitka
    • Arizona – Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Fayetteville, Jonesboro, Little Rock, and Southern Arkansas
    • California – Bakersfield, Fresno, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Modesto, Orange County, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura
    • Colorado – Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, and Rockies Connecticut
    • Delaware – Delaware and Eastern Shore
    • District of Columbia – Washington
    • Florida – Central Atlantic Coast, Florida Keys, Fort Myers-Naples, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, Ocala, Orlando, Panama City, Pensacola, Sarasota, Tallahassee, and Tampa Bay
    • Georgia – Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Coastal Georgia, Columbus, Macon, North Georgia, Savannah-Hilton Head, and South Georgia
    • Hawaii – Big Island, Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui
    • Idaho – Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Eastern Idaho, Sun Valley
    • Illinois – Carbondale, Champaign, Chicago, Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield
    • Indiana – Bloomington, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, NW Indiana, South Bend, Terre Haute, and West Lafayette
    • Iowa – Ames, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City, Quad Cities, Sioux City, and Waterloo-Cedar Falls
    • Kansas – Lawrence, Manhattan, Topeka, and Wichita
    • Kentucky – Bowling Green, Lexington, and Louisville
    • Louisiana – Baton Rouge, Lafayette-Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans, and Shreveport-Alexandria
    • Maine – Greater Maine and Portland
    • Maryland – Baltimore
    • Massachusetts – Boston, Western MA, and Worcester
    • Michigan – Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Traverse City, and Tri-Cities
    • Minnesota – Duluth, Mankato, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Rochester, and St. Cloud
    • Mississippi – Golden Triangle, Gulfport-Biloxi, Hattiesburg, Jackson, Meridian, Mississippi Delta, and Oxford
    • Missouri – Columbia, Kansas City, Northern Missouri, Springfield, and St. Louis
    • Montana – Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Kalispell, Missoula, and Northern Montana
    • Nebraska – Lincoln and Omaha
    • Nevada – Las Vegas and Reno
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • New Mexico – Albuquerque, Farmington, Gallup, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, and Taos
    • New York – New York City + suburbs, and Upstate NY
    • North Carolina – Asheville, Boone, Charlotte, Eastern North Carolina, Fayetteville, Outer Banks, Piedmont Triad, Raleigh-Durham, and Wilmington
    • North Dakota – Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks
    • Ohio – Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown
    • Oklahoma – Lawton, Oklahoma, Stillwater, and Tulsa
    • Oregon – Central Oregon, Eugene, Portland, Southern Oregon, and Willamette Valley
    • Pennsylvania – DuBois, Erie, Greater Williamsport, Harrisburg, Johnstown-Altoona, Lancaster, Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, State College, Wilkes-Barre Scranton, and York-Gettysburg
    • Rhode Island
    • South Carolina – Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, and Myrtle Beach
    • South Dakota – Sioux Falls
    • Tennessee – Chattanooga, Cookeville, Jackson, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, South Tennessee, and Tri-Cities
    • Texas – Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Beaumont, College Station, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Killeen, Laredo, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, Nacogdoches, Rio Grande Valley, San Angelo, San Antonio, Texarkana, Tyler, Waco, West Texas, and Wichita Falls
    • Utah – Salt Lake City and Southern Utah
    • Vermont
    • Virginia – Charlottesville-Harrisonburg, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke
    • Washington – Bellingham, Eastern Washington, Olympia, Peninsula and SW Washington, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Vancouver
    • West Virginia – Eastern West Virginia and Western West Virginia
    • Wisconsin – Eau Claire, Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, and Milwaukee
    • Wyoming

    Need Legal Assistance? Consult The Uber Accident Attorneys California Trusts The Most

    If your teen or any loved one suffers serious injuries in an Uber accident, our experienced attorneys will help ease your legal struggle. Our Uber accident lawyers at Arash Law will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your case to secure the highest possible compensation for your recovery. We’ve won over $500 Million for clients all over California. Call us now at (888) 488-1391 to learn more about how our rideshare accident attorneys can help.

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