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Charlotte County deputies offer rideshare safety tips

Posted at 11:09 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 23:09:22-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Charlotte County deputies are offering safety tips for using rideshare services after investigating an incident earlier this week.

On June 8, a Lyft client told deputies a ride she had taken the day before was unusual and that she was in fear.

Deputies say the Lyft driver was cooperative and disclosed that after his credit card was declined at the gas station, he needed to get an alternate form of payment. However, after getting off the interstate the passenger asked to get out of the car.

The driver stopped and put the car in park so that the rear doors would unlock, and all the passengers got out. He explained his vehicle’s safety features require it to be placed in park to allow back seat passengers to exit and wanted to ensure the passengers' safety by stopping in a safe location.

Investigators reviewed the driver's bank statements which support his claim. The investigation concluded that the driver did not prevent the passengers from exiting the vehicle at any point and it was determined that no crime had occurred.

Rideshare service safety tips:

Always ask “What’s my name?” Never get into a vehicle unless the driver can identify you by name. If they’re your actual driver they will know your first name and destination.

Verify the car and driver You must match the make, model, and license plate of the car to what’s listed in the app. Make sure their personal appearance also matches the driver's profile.

Use trip-sharing features Both major rideshare companies offer the ability to “Share trip status” or “Share Route” with trusted family and friends.

Choose where to sit wisely It is safer to sit in the back seat of the car because it creates two possible exits and increases space between you and the driver.

Trust your gut If at any point something seems “off” about your ride or driver, speak up and ask to end the ride at a safe location.

Call when you can or text 9-1-1 when help is needed.